It Was a Cold Winter Night

It Was a Cold Winter Night

Dir/Scr: Lee Sun-fung
Orig Story: Ba Jin
Prod Co: Hwa Lien
Cast: Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin, Wong Man-lei, Lee Ching, Wong Cho-shan
1955 | B&W | DCP | Cantonese | Chi & Eng Subtitles | 136min

This film was collected overseas in 1997.

There was a time when Hong Kong films were shown all over the world, wherever there were overseas Chinese. San Francisco, with one of the biggest Chinese communities in the US, once had six theatres that screened Chinese-language films. When the news that the World Theatre of San Francisco was closing its doors in 1996 was heard, the Archive promptly made arrangements and successfully recovered over 600 copies of films. The masterpiece It was a Cold Winter Night was among them. The weather in Northern California, where the theatre was located, was much less humid than Hong Kong and prints were much better preserved. The World Theatre inspired the Archive's treasure-hunt ventures in the Chinatowns of the US.

Adapted from the novel Wintry Night by influential writer Ba Jin, It was a Cold Winter Night is about a man, his wife and his mother during and after the war, the difficulties of their relationship coalesced from the weight of traditions, the devastations of war and the clash of personalities. The masterpiece is directed and written by Lee Sun-fung, one of Cantonese cinema's bests, at the height of his creativity. He makes effective use of the family melodrama's genre conventions and evocative mise-en-scène, harvesting heart-wrenching emotions with vivid characterisations, complemented by superb performances by stars Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin and Wong Man-lei. This is widely and deservedly recognised as an emblem of Cantonese cinema's 1950s Golden Age.

Date Time Venue
17/7/2021 (Sat) # 12:00pm Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive

# Post-screening talk with Kiz Chuk

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