A new year, while not wiping the slate, brings new opportunities. The Macao Cultural Centre‘s (CCM) annual Local View Power offers the chance for budding Directors and actors/actresses to flex their cinematic minds and engage their creative skills in one of three categories Documentary, Short-feature or Animation and see their ideas funded and appear on the silver screen.
The project has produced more than 90 films since 2007 with the CCM providing financial and technical support for local filmmakers who have the drive and desire to transform their ideas and visions into moving images.
The proposal submission deadline is 23 January, 2017 and more detailed information and the submission regulations can be found here http://www.ccm.gov.mo/programme/prog17/LVP2017/LVP2017_reg_e.htm
Eight early Hong Kong films will be screened from 11 February – 1 April at the Hong Kong Film Archive as part of the third instalment of the Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered series. The films in the series are: Rivals in Love (1939), The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan (1940), The Evil Mind (1947), The Inscrutable Heart of Women (1947), Return of the Swallows (1948), A Poor Lover’s Tears (1948), The Birth of Kiddy Stone (1949) and To Kill the Love (1949).
An exhibition entitled Rediscovering Mak Siu-ha – A Talent of Multiple Trades will run concurrently showcasing Mak as a multi-talented Cantonese opera scriptwriter, composer and filmmaker who was active in the 1930s.
The two pre-war film, So Yee’s Rivals in Love (1939) and Mak Siu-ha’s The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan (1940), are the only surviving prints of the two Cantonese directors’ early work and are immensely precious. In Rivals in Love, Tam Lan-hing is at once alluring and virtuous as a sacrificial mother who hopes to raise her daughter (Tsi Lo-lan) properly. However, after being adopted by an aunt, the daughter grows up to be a spoilt and vain brat. Placing Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in the Chinese social context with patriotic save-our-country sentiments, the film showcases the contextual changes when adapting Western literature into an Eastern film.
The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan focuses on a group of businessmen as their indifference to the war evolves to a devotion to saving their country. The film features an amazing sword-dance performed by Cheang Mang-ha, the wife of Tong Tik-sang.
Adapted from a newspaper serial by Ling Siu-sang, The Evil Mind‘s (1947) roller-coaster plot, depicts the erosion of humanity and social order after war. Ng Cho-fan turns from do-gooder to evil-doer and heads towards self-destruction, Wong Man-lei is an able policewoman who becomes a helpless woman, Siu Yin Fei plays an immaculate maiden who dies as a victim of assault, and upright teacher Lo Duen becomes blind and succumbs to the evil tricks of his students. The arrangement of the film also reflects the chaos and unrest that rattled the post-war Hong Kong film industry.
In But Fu‘s The Inscrutable Heart of Women (1947), Pak Yin plays a devoted wife who allows her husband to keep his lover, a songstress, as a concubine but later intends to kill her out of jealousy. Pak shines in a darker and more perverse role in a departure from her unusual persona repertoire. Director But Fu builds up the dramatic tension with liberal use of close-ups and consistent application of spatial contrast.
Return of the Swallows (1948) centres on a love triangle between a handsome heir (Sit Kok-sin) and two sisters (Siu Yin Fei and Tsi Lo Lin). A fantastic array of supporting actors is brought in as comic foils to flesh out and give context to the portrayal of hardship and woe of survival in the post-war era.
A Poor Lover’s Tears (1948) follows Pak Yin, who migrates from the Mainland and is employed as the personal secretary of a factory manager because of her appealing appearance. Adapted from a novel by Mong Wan, the film portrays Pak as a woman who does not believe in love, a rare persona in the Hong Kong cinema in the ‘40s, and carrying an unexpected storyline as well.
Featuring the gifted Cantonese opera star Yu Kai, The Birth of Kiddy Stone (1949) tells of Kiddy Stone, who transforms from a son of a destitute family suffering from bullying to a brave and heroic army general. The 10-year-old Yu displays his talents by excelling in a variety of theatrics, and thus became a box office draw with his playful character. The eclectic mix of special effect stone figures interspersed with Cantonese ditties and lyrics makes the film a delight to watch.
Chu Kea’s melodrama To Kill the Love (1949) is an adaptation of a newspaper serial by Yee Hung-sang. It follows two educated sisters (Pak Yin and Tsang Nam-sze) getting married to the same man. The husband who dares to fight for independence and gets rid of his family control is still unable to act according to his own will.
As part of the series the HKFA will also hold eight seminars and screen eight reference films to enhance the audience’s understanding of the atmosphere of the pre- and post-war productions, bringing about new dimensions in their cinematic experience. The seminars will be conducted in Cantonese by speakers including the programmer and researcher of the HKFA, scholars, film critics and researchers.
The reference films are Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925), Ernst Lubitsch’s classic silent film with live music accompaniment centring on an intricate emotional entanglement; The Legend of Lee Heung Kwan (1990), starring towering figures of Cantonese opera Hung Sin Nui and Law Ka-bo; Blood-stained Azaleas (1951), with Pak Yin playing a ruthless manipulator; Leave Her to Heaven (1945), a hybrid of Hollywood film noir, populist romance and family drama; The Sisters’ Tragic Love (1953), telling of two sisters falling in love with the same man; Children of Paradise (1945), following the love affairs between a leading theatre actress and the four men who love her in 19th century Paris; The Birth of Stone Child (1962), showcasing the acrobatic prowess of Cantonese opera masters Lam Kar-sing, Fung Wong Nui and Lan Chi Pak; and Blonde Venus (1932), featuring the bold and avant-garde Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich.
Leave Her to Heaven and Blonde Venus are in English, Children of Paradise is in French, and all of the other films are in Cantonese. Lady Windermere’s Fan, Blonde Venus and Children of Paradise have English subtitles; Leave Her to Heaven, Return of the Swallows and A Poor Lover’s Tears have Chinese and English subtitles; and the other films are without subtitles.
Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered 3
Date: 11 February – 1 April, 2017
Venue: HK Film Archive
Tickets: $45 from Urbtix
Evans Chan‘s documentary Raise the Umbrellas explores the origin and impact of Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement through the inter-generational lenses of three post-Tiananmen democratic activists – Martin Lee, founder of the Hong Kong Democratic party; Benny Tai, Occupy Central initiator; and Joshua Wong, the sprightly student leader.
Alongside voices from unknown “umbrella mothers,” student occupiers (Yvonne Leung and Vivian Yip), star politicians (Emily Lau, and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok Hung, as well as the pro-Beijing heavyweight Jasper Tsang), prominent media professionals (Jimmy Lai, Cheong Ching, Philip Bowring), international scholars (Andrew Nathan, Arif Dirlik and Hung Ho-fung), and activist Canton-pop icons Denise Ho and Anthony Wong.
Driven by on-site footage of a major Asian metropolis riven by peaceful protest, Umbrellas reveals the Movement’s eco-awareness, gay activism, burgeoning localism and the sheer political risk for post-colonial Hong Kong’s universal-suffragist striving to define its autonomy within China.
Raise the Umbrellas – Fundraising Screening
When: 7:30pm, 4 December, 2016
Where: HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, Multi-media Theatre
How much: $1,200, $600, $300
Tel: 2891 8482, 2891 8488, 9800 7169
Fax 2891 8483
Cheque payable to “Centre for Community Cultural Development Ltd”or bank-in slip (Bank of China: 012-694-10049720). Tickets are also available at CCCD, L205-208 JCCAC, 30 Pak Tin Street
The upcoming Medecins Sans Frontieres Film Festival is not a collection of pretty films – it is a self-promotional vehicle that looks to raise awareness and thence increase donations – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch. Unlike Hollywood films, several of the documentaries in the festival feature real life heroes and heroines.
The five documentary films look at the reality of aid work, the daily dilemmas and choices that occur in the field. The documentaries are not complete stories, just snapshots of ongoing disasters and tragedies occurring across the globe. They will put into perspective the simple things that we take for granted in Hong Kong – for example clean running water is just a fantasy or movie image to many across the world.
There will be a panel discussion session with MSF field workers after each screening.
Sadly what none of the documentaries at the ‘festival’ address is the rampant corruption that occurs within charities from the harassment style of collection to how little of the money donated/collected actually goes towards aid projects. The vast majority gets used in administration, salaries, commission for raising money etc. Then there’s the corruption on the ground and the actual effectiveness of the programmes a charity provides…
Affliction – The Ebola outbreak in West Africa seen through the eyes of the local populations, village officials, aid workers, the sick and those who recovered. It is a story of fear and frustration, of stigma and disbelief, of grief but also of immense joy and courage.
MSF (Un)limited – uses original footage with commentary by MSF staff about atrocities and humanitarian crises that have occured since the founding of MSF in 1971.
Access to the Danger Zone – narrated by Daniel Day-Lewis about victims of war and their need for humanitarian aid. It describes the difficulties and dangers humanitarian organizations face in trying to provide help in the most dangerous places on earth.
Fire in the Blood – the story of how pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for countries in the years after 1996 – causing millions of unnecessary deaths – and the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. Particularly relevant given recent US news articles about how companies are massively increasing the price of drugs.
For tickets and screening schedule visit www.msffilmfestival.com or contact 2959 4204.
MSF Film Festival
Date: 1-4 December, 2016
Venue: The Grand Cinema, Elements, Kowloon Station
Tickets: $130 (Free seating)
The Umbrella Movement happened over two years ago when tens of thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong in a fight for democracy. Yellowing is a documentary that sheds light on the nameless, ordinary young people whose massed peaceful protest stunned the world.
The film is composed of 20 memorandums, each recording a different aspect of the movement, more of daily chores, that in the most realistic respect, made this seemingly unrealistic defiance possible. Where there is discord, may we bring harmony; and where there is despair, may we bring hope.
Director: Chan Tze Woon
Director: Chan Tze Woon
When: 15, 22, 29 October, 2016
Where: HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, Multi-Media Theatre
Tickets: $70 from Urbtix
In Cantonese with Chinese & English subtitles
Photographer Kirill Neiezhmakov has created a stunning video to capture his impressions of Hong Kong. Shot in September 2015 this is not your typical timelapse video. It’s a timelapse / hyperlapse video with a hefty dose of psychedelic elements and a tight soundtrack.