HK Film Archive's "Morning Matinee" to feature fantastic works of child stars (with photos)
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     Following on from the popular "Merry-Go-MoviesíPStar Kids" screening programme held earlier, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will present a second instalment from May to August as part of the "Morning Matinee" series, which is held at 11am on Fridays. The "Merry-Go-MoviesíPStar Kids 2" programme will feature 17 films with various focuses on leading child stars active in the 1950s and '60s. Also, an exhibition with the same title will be held from May 6 to August 28 at the 1/F Foyer of the HKFA, following different child stars on and off the screen. Admission to the exhibition is free.

     The May screenings entitled "From Child Stars to Veteran Actors" will screen four films by actors who have remained active over half a century, including Paul Chun (aka Yan Chang), John Chiang (aka Yan Wei), Nancy Sit Kar-yin and Rosanne Lui (aka Shan Shan). Chun gave a lively and innocent performance at the age of 4 in his debut film "Our Husband" (1949), which is his only collaboration with his father, Yan Hua, on-screen. Chun later partnered with his brother John Chiang, in "Blue Sky" (1953) to play the son of a mentally ill prostitute (Li Lihua) in his elder and younger years respectively. A versatile singer and dancer as a child, Sit outshines the other child stars in her acting debut "The Grand Re-union" (1960). "Jack-of-all-trades" (1966) features the babbling toddler Lui as a playful kid who pleases the audience with funny faces.

     The four selected films in June will feature "Child Stars Dearly Remembered" to commemorate the adorable acting of Siu Kei Lun (1946-1987), Yuen Siu-hoi (1940-1994), Lam Kam-tong (1948-2013) and Chiang Kwai-lam (1942-2015). Chiang plays the rebellious son of a widow (Hung Sin Nui) in Chun Kim's notable work "A Mother Remembers" (1953), and his lively performance measures up to that of his child co-star, Bruce Lee. In "Lucky Gathering" (1953), Siu steals the spotlight as a young master despite his brief appearance. "Mother" (1954) features the rare appearance of the gifted child star Yuen Siu-hoi with his younger sibling Yuen Siu-fai as brothers on-screen. The duo with different personalities even get into fights in the film. In "Five Sons Crying at the Tomb" (1960), the handsome Lam plays a stubborn and cheeky third brother who keeps bickering with his aunt (Fung Wong Nui).

     "The Offspring of Famed Directors" in July will screen five films with the children of filmmakers acting in movies. In the Cantonese and Mandarin cinema circles of the '50s and '60s, children often visited the sets where their parents worked and some had commonly grown into acting. Fung Hak-on plays the mischievous yet adorable shoeshine boy in "Great Chums" (1956), directed by his father Fung Fung. In "The Street Boy" (1958), Li Pingqian's son Li Zhendi plays a poverty-stricken boy who is often bullied and performs a thrilling stunt climb on the exterior of a building in an escape scene. Ng Ka-lai appears in her father Ng Wui's work "Wonderful Partners" (1960) as an obedient daughter, and presents herself confidently in a duo with veteran actor Ng Cho-fan to convey a touching father-daughter relationship. Chu Tin-wai steals the scenes with the hilarious bickering with her aunt (Lee Hong-kum) by mimicking a little adult in "The Little Girl Avenges Her Brother's Death" (1963) directed by her father, Chu Kea. Director Wong Fung's vivacious 7-year-old daughter Wong Kam-fung showcases her agility and talents, including incredible skills with swords, in "The Magic Whip" (1963).

     The focus of the August screenings is "Poorly Treated Kids", featuring four films in which the child stars are abused by their stepmothers. In "Orchid of the Valley" (1954), Yuen Siu-fai plays a kid beaten by his stepmother, and his convincing performance draws much sympathy. The innocent Tsui Siu-ming gives a heart-breaking performance in "A Lily in the Storms" (1962), in which he is often abused by his mean stepmother (Helena Law Lan). The tearful performances by On Wai-lin in "A Girl Named Leng Chau-mei, Part One" (1963) and Leung Chun-mut in "Orphan's Song" (1955) evoke sadness for them being deprived of motherly love and almost being poisoned to death.

     All films are in Cantonese without subtitles. The programme is guest-curated by Yuen Tsz-ying.

     Tickets priced at $30 are now available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk). For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999. For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp/en_US/web/fpo/programmes/2011mm/film.html.

Ends/Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:50

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