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HK Film Archive's "Great Leap with the Monkeys" to celebrate Lunar New Year (with photos)

     To ring in the Year of the Monkey, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will present "Great Leap with the Monkeys", featuring heroes like the Monkey King and Red Boy, from January 29 to February 14 next year at the HKFA Cinema.

     In "King Kong's Adventures in the Heavenly Palace" (1959) the Ape King steals God Yi Long's special badge and uses its powers to cause trouble in the human world, causing the gods to turn to the Monkey King for help. The story features well-known folklore characters and a Hollywood-style King Kong, offering flights of fancy and sensational novelty to audiences.  

     A Hong Kong-Korean joint production, "The Flaming Mountain" (1962) is the first Hong Kong Cantonese film shot on Eastmancolor and in widescreen. It features Ting Ying as Princess Iron Fan and Tsui Siu-ming as Red Boy alongside the Korean cast. The film begins with the 9-year-old Tsui commanding his people to capture monk Tong and later battling with Monkey King, wrapping Tong and his disciples around his little finger.    

     Fung Bo-bo plays Red Boy in "Battles with the Red Boy" (1962) and turns the naughty and arrogant original character into an adorable one. His rival, the Monkey King (Cheung Siu-pang) is equally delightful. The film uses various editing techniques to portray the magic scenes, unleashing much creativity.  

     "The Grateful Monkey" (1963) is a fictional story of the Spring and Autumn Annals. It features members of the Hong Kong-China Opera Institute as kid monkeys, including Meng Yuen-man (aka Yuen Man), Chu Yuen-lung (aka Sammo Hung) and Cheung Yuen-chau (aka Yuen Chau), who save the King from the evil minsteríŽs scheme while showcasing amazing northern-style acrobatics and somersaults.

     "Seven Fights with Nine Tail Fox" (1964) infuses operatic elements into the fantasy classic along with remarkable fight sequences. Yu So-chow, Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Connie Chan Po-chu act and fight in their roles as Nine Tail Fox, Jade Hare Spirit and Green Snake Spirit respectively, while Cantonese opera master Yuen Siu-fai breathes life into the Monkey King with his dazzling acrobatic skills. The film will be screened in a rare Eastmancolor print version.

     Appearing in "Fairies and a Monkey" (1965) again as the Monkey King, Yuen Siu-fai continues to fight Josephine Siao and Connie Chan, who play the spirits scheming to capture monk Tong. In addition to from a knotty and twist-filled plot, the film is also filled with memorable visual gags, such as the 72 transformations of the Monkey King.

     Ho Moon-hwa's "Princess Iron Fan" (1966) refreshes a classical tale with the addition of martial arts, musical and dancing sequences. The visual effects and editing techniques also create an entertaining and spectacular fantasy adventure. The film follows the Monkey King (Elliot Yueh Hua) taking Princess Iron FaníŽs (Pat Ting Hung) magical fan to put out the flames at the Fiery Mountain and later rescuing monk Tong from the White Bone Demons (Cheng Pei-pei and Lily Ho).

     Co-starring seven beauties as the Spider Demons, "The Cave of Silken Web" (1967) follows the seven demons as they scheme to capture monk Tong by seducing his disciple Pigsy while the Monkey King is away. Actor Chou Lung-chang spent months observing real monkeys to mimic their movements in his convincing performance as the Monkey King.

     "Monkey in Hong Kong" (1969) is a comedic spin-off of "The Journey to the West", which depicts Pigsy's (Chen Fei-lung) escape to Hong Kong after he accidentally breaks a magical mirror in heaven, causing monk Tong (Wang Chen), the Monkey King (Tian Qing) and monk Sha to follow him in pursuit. The trio change into human form and set off on their bizarre journey into the modern world.

     "Seven Fights with Nine Tail Fox" is dubbed into Mandarin; "Princess Iron Fan", "The Cave of Silken Web" and "Monkey in Hong Kong" are in Mandarin and the other films are in Cantonese. "Princess Iron Fan" and "The Cave of Silken Web" have Chinese and English subtitles, while the other films are without subtitles.

     Tickets priced at $40 are now available at URBTIX ( For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999. For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or visit

Ends/Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:04


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