Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Passing Flickers (1982)

Passing Flickers (1982)

May 17th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

This screening will be my last as head of the Asian Film Series, but a new individual will be taking over and hopefully it will continue for many more years. Look to this blog for information regarding where to find news on future screenings. To celebrate this end I have chosen to screen a film that is very special to me along with a newsreel, the topic of both being moviemaking in Hong Kong. The short film is a remembrance of the actress Linda Lin Dai after her 1964 suicide. With a kind of bizarre glee, the Shaw Brothers studio put their entire promotional department behind an extravaganza of Lin Dai as they continued to put out still unreleased films starring the actress.

The feature is a 1982 film also produced by the Shaw Brothers studio and directed by Li Han Hsiang. Named after his popular newspaper column which anonymously informed readers of all of the strange goings on in the movie business, Passing Flickers is an episodic comedy following the behind the scenes progress of a series of fictional productions ranging from studio to independent style works. One of Hong Kong’s great studio directors, Li had been working since the 1950’s making everything from refined palace dramas to erotic farces which mixed everything from melodrama, slapstick, horror and complex historical illusion.

Passing Flickers is packed full of both general and specific references to three decades of Hong Kong cinema. This includes an extended reference to the 1962 Shaw Brothers version of Madame White Snake and their abortive Wong Fei Hung films. This should not discourage those unfamiliar with such topics from seeing the film, as it works upon many levels. In a way both feature and short provide an indictment of and exultation Hong Kong film from an insider’s perspective.
Hong Kong, Director Li Han Hsiang, Cast Ku Feng, Helen Poon Bing-Seung, Lee Din-Hing and Yuen Wah, 90 minutes film, 18 minutes short, feature in Mandarin with English subtitles, short in Mandarin with English and Traditional Chinese subtitles.

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