30 December 2018 (Sunday), 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
1 January 2019 (Tuesday), 2:30pm
Based on a Qiong opera staple from Hainan, this Cantonese opera adaptation revolves around the star-crossed love between a maid-servant (Hung Sin-nui) and a scholar. Faced with opposition from those around them, the couple seek help from a sympathetic schoolteacher (Ma Si-tsang) who helps them elope. The well-fleshed-out narrative, coupled with strong performances by the entire cast, make this full-colour period film an unexpected gem.
Director: Xu Tao
Production: Shanghai Film Studio
Cast: Hung Sin-nui, Ma Si-tsang, Li Cui-fang, Li Fei-long, He Jian-qiu
Cantonese opera / 1957 / Colour / 125 min / DCP / Lyrics with Chinese subtitles
1 January 2019 (Tuesday), 8:00pm
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 / 72 min / DVD / Chinese and English subtitles
5 January 2019 (Saturday), 8:00pm
Muk Kwai-ying (Yu Lai-zhen) is both a bold woman warrior and the chief of Mok Oi Fortress. She’s also fearless in proclaiming her love for General Yeung Chung-bo (Yam Kim-fai), the man she desires and ensnares. This cross-over production blending Cantonese opera and fantasy is the perfect vehicle for Yu Lai-zhen, showcasing her unique “bound foot” acrobatics, hair swirling acts and sword fighting skills.
Director: Wong Hok-sing
Production: Lux Film Company
Cast: Yu Lai-zhen, Yam Kim-fai, Leung Sing-po, Poon Yat-on
Cantonese opera / 1959 / Colour / 96 min / D Beta / No subtitles
6 January 2019 (Sunday), 8:00pm
In this compelling spin on the “rich girl, poor boy” trope, Wang, a wealthy young woman from an illustrious Tang dynasty family, falls in love with Xue, a pauper. Despite the objections of Wang’s father, the two marry. But soon after, Xue is drafted to fight in a battle and the newlyweds are parted. Fighting on a red-maned steed, Xue is captured by a rival tribe and forced to marry their princess. One of the most popular Hong Kong-produced Teochew operas from the mid-1960s, the film features excellent use of high angle shots, particularly in Wang and Xue’s parting scene, and top performances from the leading stars.
Director: Law Cho
Cast: Chen Chu-hui, Fang Qiaoyu, Mei Zhen, Cheung Ying-yin
Teochew opera / 1963 / B&W / 111 min / D Beta / Chinese subtitles
Screening courtesy of Mr Lee Gee-hing
Screening courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the China Film Archive
Online registration for free tickets opens on 11 December 2018 at 10am. A limited number of tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre Ticketing counter at 10am on the day of each performance.