Thursday, September 22, 2011

SCMP: Hong Kong's 100 best films a lesson in morals [Roast Pork Sliced From A Rusty Cleaver] (飲水思源)

This post was produced by Roast Pork Sliced From A Rusty Cleaver:

Jennifer Cheng
Sep 20, 2011

Can watching films make you a morally better person?

Hong Kong Film Archive programmer Sam Ho See-wing thinks so - especially if you watch the 100 films the archive has recommended.

The selection of films produced between 1916 and 1999 spans a variety of genres including martial arts flicks, cops and robbers thrillers, love stories and gambling sagas.

The movies were selected by a panel of six film experts primarily on artistic grounds, and will be screened every second and fourth Saturday each month over four years beginning next month at the Sai Wan Ho centre.

Ho, one of the panellists, said: "The 20th century is the film century all over the world. And Hong Kong's cinema, out of all art forms, is the one that has had the most significant international impact."

A highlight is director Alex Cheung Kwok-ming's Man on the Brink (1981), which catapulted the undercover cop genre into the big time.

"The importance of the undercover cop theme is more important in Hong Kong than even Hollywood cinema," Ho said.

"It is a morally ambiguous figure. He is at once a cop and a robber, at once a good and bad man. The undercover cop is able to address the complexities in crime, and in humanity as a whole."

Director Wong Jing's film God of Gamblers (1989) has been chosen as the cream of the crop when it comes to Hong Kong gambling films.

To restore and give credit to old films is an indicator of a country's maturity, said Ho, and now is a good time to do so.

"Restoring our past in many ways is a luxury to people," he said. "There's a Chinese saying: When you are starving, you don't care about your past. When your stomach is full, you start to care about other things."

Ho highlights another movie, Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996), which he said is reflective of Hong Kong society in the 1990s in capturing the assimilation of new immigrants from China. "On the surface, you think it is a sappy romance, but it is so much more." (SCMP)

HKFA - Introduction

There are many good movies in the history of Hong Kong. Most citizens of the SAR are aware that we have a rich cinematic heritage, which includes a substantial number of wonderful films. Yet, this rich tradition remains largely unrecognized, even ignored. Old movies are often considered irrelevant, poorly made and, perhaps worst, boring.

"100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" aims at correcting that misguided perception. It is a screening programme presented by the Hong Kong Film Archive, designed to let viewers experience some of the best movies made in Hong Kong.


ewaffle said...

Quite a list. Until the Wong Fei-Hong movies starring Kwan Tak-Hing I thought I might not have seen any of the 100. Much more familiar with the last part of the list but having not seen (or in many cases not even heard of) so many classic HK films, particularly ones that cause one to be a moral person) is humbling.

dleedlee said...

By my rough count, I think I've seen between 40-45 on the list. Unfortunately, many are unsubbed -- and I'm afraid I'd fail any morality tests. :D