Based on a traditional Peking opera play, The Judge Goes to Pieces is the story of an upstanding retired magistrate, Sung Sai-kit, who joins hands with his wife Madam Tong to defend an accused women Yeung and uphold justice in their town. Featuring fine singing and witty repartee from Hung Sin-nui and Ma Si-tsang, the film is a classic golden era comedy.
Director: Yeung Kung-leong
Production: Lianyi Film Company
Cast: Hung Sin-nui, Ma Si-tsang, Lau Hak-suen, Lee Lan
Cantonese opera / 1948 / B&W / 95min / D Beta / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
9 February 2019 (Saturday), 8:00pm
Adapted from the classic play Romance of the Western Chamber, this comic film tells the story of young scholar Cheung Kwan-shui and his love for Choi Ying-ying, the daughter of a prominent minister. When Cheung successfully prevents Ying-ying from being kidnapped by a rebel army general, Madam Choi initially agrees to let him marry her daughter. However, realising the class differences, she swiftly changes her mind. Sympathetic to the star-crossed lovers, Hung-neung – Ying-ying’s clever chambermaid – helps the pair arrange a secret rendezvous that eventually leads to their happy marriage.
Director: Lung To
Production: Tao Yuen Motion Picture Development Company
Cast: Fong Yim-fun, Law Kim-long, Law Yim-hing, Poon Yat-on, Lau Hak-suen, Lam Kam-tong
Cantonese opera / 1958 / B&W / 105min / D Beta / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
10 February 2019 (Sunday), 2:30pm
This signature production of Sun-Ma Sze-tsang is an adaptation of a classic Hui opera. After Han dynasty official Wong Mong kills the Han emperor and usurps the throne, he marries his daughter Lan-ying (Lam Tan) to his commander Ng Hon (Sun-Ma Sze-tsang). When Ng’s mother (Poon Yat-on) reveals to her son that Wong is in fact his father’s murderer, a tragic situation unfolds that ends with Ng’s wife and mother both taking their own lives.
Director: Yeung Kung-leung
Story: Sun-Ma Sze-tsang
Cast: Sun-Ma Sze-tsang, Lam Tan, Fung Wong-nui, Tang Kei-chan, Poon Yat-on
Cantonese opera / 1958 / B&W / 104min / D Beta / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
Screening courtesy of Mr and Mrs Chan Kam-yuen
10 February 2019 (Sunday), 8:00pm
This film consists of four highlight extracts, each performed by renowned stage stars. The first, Guan Hanqing tells the story of the plight of the titular Yuan dynasty dramatist (Ma Si-tsang), who is sent to prison for his damning portrayals of the ruling class. The Drowning of the Seven Armies depicts a famous battle from the popular classic historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The third segment, an extract from The Magic Lantern starring Baak Kui-wing and Long Kwun-yuk, follows the emotional journey of grieving father Lau Yin-cheong, forced to sacrifice one of his children to atone for the death of the Imperial tutor’s son. The closing segment, The Umbrella tells a heart-warming tale of two people who fall in love while sharing an umbrella on a rainy day.
Director: Collective Work
Cast: Hung Sin-nui, Ma Si-tsang, Baak Kui-wing, Long Kwun-yuk, Lui Yuk-long, Lam Siu-kwan
Cantonese opera / 1959 / Colour / 109min / DVD / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
23 February 2019 (Saturday), 2:30pm
Seven years in the making, this documentary feature follows Tam Wing-lun and Wong Hau-wai, two young Cantonese opera performers in Hong Kong. Having made the unusual choice to specialise in the male dan role (female lead), the two men receive little support from their families, the industry or society and are kept going by their friendship and passion for the artform. Watching them motivate each other on and off stage as they learn to interpret the female roles, we see the bond of their friendship strengthen alongside the development of their performance skills.
Director: Cheuk Cheung
Production: CNEX Foundation
Cast: Tam Wing-lun, Wong Hau-wai
Documentary / 2011 / Colour / 72min / DCP / Chinese and English subtitles
23 February 2019 (Saturday), 8:00pm
In a tale reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, Wai Chung-fai falls madly in love with Lui Dou-chi, a pretty young woman from a rival clan. Despite the conflict between the two families, Wai and Lui are willing to risk everything to be together. The film features a star-making turn from male lead Lam Kar-sing, whose chemistry with Chan Ho-kau made them one of the era’s most popular on-screen couples.
Director: Wong Hok-sing
Story: Tsui Chi-long
Production: Lap Shun Motion Picture Company
Cast: Lam Kar-sing, Chan Ho-kau, Lan Chi-pak, Kwan Hoi-san, Poon Yat-on
Cantonese opera / 1964 / B&W / 100min / D Beta / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
24 February 2019 (Sunday), 2:30pm
In her ambitious attempt to improve her status within the imperial family, the vicious and conniving concubine Ha will stop at nothing. After stealing Prince Fung, the newborn son of the Emperor’s first wife Snow, for herself and replacing the baby with a girl named Shum, Ha succeeds in driving her rival into exile and taking the throne by murdering the Emperor. Years later, fate intervenes with an unexpected encounter between Shum and Prince Fung that sets off a chain of events revealing Ha’s evil deeds and offering Snow the revenge that she deserves.
Director: Chu Kei
Production: Lux Film Company
Cast: Yu Lai-zhen, Lam Kar-sing, Lam Fung, Poon Yat-on, Lee Heung-kam
Cantonese opera / 1962 / Colour / 93min / D Beta / No subtitles
24 February 2019 (Sunday), 8:00pm
Sun-Ma Sze-tsang plays the Northern Song general, Fourth Brother Yeung, who was forced into a reluctant marriage with the princess of the rival Liao clan (Fung Wong-nui). Learning that his mother (Poon Yat-on) has fallen gravely ill, Yeung makes an emotional declaration to his wife and gains the princess’s approval to return briefly to his homeland to see her. Alongside the talented Sun-Ma, the production features another famed master of martial arts, Sek Yin-tsi, as Yeung’s younger brother.
Director: Wong Hok-sing
Production: Lux Film Company
Cast: Sun-Ma Sze-tsang, Yu Lai-zhen, Fung Wong-nui, Poon Yat-on, Sek Yin-tsi, Lam Kar-sing
Cantonese opera / 1959 / B&W / 91min / D Beta / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
Screening courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department