Wednesday, July 27, 2022


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Sire Ma's qipiao look is full of 60s flavor

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Johnnie To, Sammo Hung, Ann Hui and Yuen Wo Ping team up for SEPTET

Johnnie To admits that he really misses his late friend Ringo Lam

Ann Hui feels that Francis Ng has to be the HEADMASTER
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The film SEPTET (CHUT YUN LOK DUI) today officially opened, seven Hong Kong master directors Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Ann Hui On Wa, Yuen Wo Ping, Johnnie To Kei Fung, Tsui Hark, Patrick Tam Ka Ming and (the late) Ringo Lam Lan Tung teamed up to document "Hong Kong stories" of each different eras with film and "jammed" out this nostalgia that never changed among Hong Kong people. Hung Kam Bo, To Kei Fung, Hui On Wa and Yuen Wo Ping spoke to the press. To Kei Fung admitted that from making SEPTET he saw the unity of the Hong Kong film industry and felt very warm. He also advised the new generation of directors to mutually respect and appreciate each other, not to see each other as enemies.

Project founder To Kei Fung said that by coincidence this alliance took place. In the current digital era, he was sad that the film production era has become a thing of the past. However it still brought a little excitement, because Hong Kong directors and actors only through film were able to go all over the world and become internationally renowned. Thus he daringly invited many directors to again with film "remember" the Hong Kong nostalgia and salute to film. Hui On Wa said that at first when the seen directors met, they drew straw for a decade to make the story about. She chose the 60's that gave her her start and even chose an established script HEADMASTER (HAU JEUNG) and shrank it down to a 15 minute story about a rooftop school. Ann said that she once taught herself, and understood the teacher student relationship very well. As for asking Francis Ng Chun Yu to play the headmaster, she said, "Actually it's not too suitable for his range, but I still deliberately asked him to perform because Chun Yu's quality was a little evil yet very energetic. Playing a righteous headmaster he would not be so boring. He could a 30 year old and had the acting skills of a 60 or 70 year old, so he had to play the role. The impression of Ma Choi as the female teacher is that she isn't considered too pretty, but she is thin and petite like a 60s woman. In a qipiao she looked rather good."

The Sammo Hung Kam Bo (Big Brother Sammo) directed EXERCISE (LIN GUNG) was the experience of the "Seven Little Fortunes" training as well as his childhood memories. He chose his son Timmy Hung Tin Ming to play Master Yu Jim Yuen. Big Brother Sammo said that Tin Ming indeed looked a little like Master, but for Tin Ming to play Master it was very easy to handle because as soon as someone was disobedient he would beat them. The toughest was to accommodate the child actors' schedules. They had to wait until the weekends to be able to begin work; Big Brother said that he would always think of the seven years of his life at school. This time in the short film he did not want to bring out any particular message, he only felt that the new and old ways of education were already two different matter. "My master was lucky, in this era he probably would be in jail." Thus Big Brother felt that children now are very fortunate, the social climate and the resources are better. However he hoped that they would understand that success would depend on them working for it, like Master used to say, "Master brought you through the door, discipline would depend on you yourself!" He hoped the most for everyone to be able to see how Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao were like as children, in comparison to current society, knowing how to grow up healthily to achieve the success. However Big Brother also admitted that he would not use the old way to teach his grandchildren, he would not even dare to teach them. "If I was just a little meaner he would say he doesn't want to see me anymore. Once he wouldn't go to sleep at my home, I strictly told him to go to sleep. He then told everyone on the streets that Grandpa yelled at me!"

Excelling in action films, Yuen Wo Ping (Lord Eight)'s HOMECOMING (WUI GWAI) this time told about the warmth and conflict of family. Lord Eight said that it told a heartwarming story of a granddaughter spending a few days with Grandpa before going to study abroad, going from a generation gap to blending in together. He particularly felt that the granddaughter on the screen Ashley Lam Ho Ling's performance was decent.

To Kei Fung (To Sir)'s BONANZA (PIN DEI WONG GUM) talked about how Hong Kong was full of opportunities. However he joked, "I spent my life going after a free lunch, but not only each time it didn't work, but I also made things worse!" To Sir pointed out that the biggest pillars of the Hong Kong economy came from property and finance. Each era has experienced multiple drastic rises and falls. At those times people would always been filled with greed and fear, but when greed and fear were improperly handled, even with a BONANZA of opportunities they would all be missed out. Only Hong Kong had these opportunities, he even predicted the in the future something similar would happen again. At that time he would have to see how he would "play" this role. He was very philosophical.

With SEPTET's successful release, To Sir admitted that after finishing the film he was happy to death because he saw the unity of the Hong Kong film industry and felt very warm. "The days of Hong Kong past, we all have gone through them. They were very worth reminiscing. These Hong Kong stories hopefully would bring warmth to everyone!" To Sir would not eliminate the possibility of working together again. He joked, "I of course want to, one more time 20 years later!" Ann answered, "After 20 years if I am not dead yet I definitely would make it with you!" Lord Eight also said, "It doesn't have to be so far, 3 years are enough!" To Sir immediately responded, "I have to stock up on ammunition!"

The four great directors on hand also mutually respected and appreciated each other. To Sir pointed out that before each director came from different companies, but they would meet to talk about movies. They even really appreciated each other's movies and rushed for the late night preview show tickets for an early glimpse. Their friendship was built on film. This was due to the film industry's atmosphere then. As long as you loved film, you would be able to mix in with everyone. He joked that only big bosses could not become friends. To Sir advised the new generation of directors to also mutually respect and appreciate each other, not to see each other as enemies. Targeting anyone would give no one any advantage. Ann added, "We would argue too, but it would be for the good of film. We wouldn't talk about anyone, we wouldn't exclude anyone." To Sir and Ann also caught a glimpse of how harmonious the new generation got along. Lord Eight felt that with the new generation the compatible ones would become friends, otherwise they would act on their own.

Somewhat regrettable about SEPTET this time was the late director Ringo Lam Lan Tung's final film ASTRAY (MAI LO). To Sir admitted that he would remember this good brother in particular, but he still lightly joked that he hid two things from him. "Fat Jai (Chow Yun Fat) and I both called him 'Dai Lo' (big brother). He admitted it and said that his sign was the Horse. Actually he was a sheep in horse's clothing. After calling him 'Dai Lo' for over 40 years, only when he passed did we realize that he actually the youngest!" After watching Lam Lan Tung's short film, To Sir realized that the always very "tough" Lam Lan Tung suddenly became Ann Hui On Wa. "He shot it in such minute details, I never knew that he had this in him. It was a variation in his film world, if developed further it definitely would be different. No more, he said it once and then passed. However in his bones he had tenderness, humanity and hometown love. For over 40 years I didn't know about these."

SEPTET (CHUT YUN LOK DUI) was originally titled EIGHT AND A HALF (BAK BO BOON), telling Hong Kong stories over the span of the 1950s to the 2020s, making a dozen or so minute short films with 35 mm film, at the same time saluting the "film" and past eras and using half a story to forecast the future as the ending. However John Woo (Ng Yu Sum) due to health reasons backed out. The film then was made anew in 2019 with the new title SEPTET. The 1970s era themed short film that Ng Yu Sum drew the straw for was regrettably left blank.

Director Ng Yu Sum yesterday appeared in a video to support SEPTET's Hong Kong release. He said, "The Hong Kong film spirit contains a type of innovative power that runs free, able to accept everyone so each creators would be able to express their own experience, belief, and views on life in each of their films. In addition, it also has a type of very strong sense of era, and a cherished nostalgia. Each film worker is able to work with each other and demonstrate their team spirit, which makes Hong Kong films more and more entertaining. Congratulations to the seven directors on jointly making SEPTET. I wish them a successful release and to be able to make viewers sense that real emotions and experience from each director's segment, to be able to look back at what's good in the past so we would think of something even better in the future."

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