In the Show – 19th January 2009

Ma Desheng

Until the end of this month, the Kwai Fung Hin gallery is presenting, at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, an exhibition called “The Story of Stone” by Chinese artist Ma Desheng. Ma Desheng moved to Paris early on in search of more creative freedom. He became part of the diaspora of Chinese artists living in France, creating ink paintings combining the Chinese medium with western forms. His career was affected by a car accident in 1992, which crippled hjim and killed his wife. He now paints again, and was in Hong Kong this week.

Two Wongs Go to Sea

Regular viewers of The Works will remember that last month we featured works from the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of ArchitectureUrbanism. On Saturday, one of those works, Kacey Wong’s “Paddling Home”, took to the water as part of an art performance with designer Stanley Wong called “Two Wongs Go to Sea.”

Movie Review: “Invictus”

Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” begins in 1994, shortly after Nelson Mandela (played here by Morgan Freeman) emerged from 27 years in prison and became president of South Africa. That was a remarkable achievement in itself. What made it even more remarkable was Mandela’s clear political vision of what kind of healing the country needed. One of the vehicles he used to achieve that healing was the country’s national rugby team, the Springboks, captained by Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon). Gary Pollard tells us more.

Eric Rohmer

We look again at the work of Eric Rohmer, who died last week. Born Jean-Marie Maurice Schérer, Eric Rohmer took his pseudonym from two famous artists, actor and director Erich von Stroheim and writer Sax Rohmer. A key figure of the French New Wave, Rohmer is known for his sometimes ironic use of dialogue. His characters’ words and their desires are often severely at odds.

Songs For A New World

And in our studio performance this week, we interview Bethan Greaves, director of “Songs for a New World”, and listen to Joyce Wong and Rick Lau sing an excerpt from one of those songs.

In the Show – 12th January 2009

Eileen Chang in Hong Kong

Chinese author Cheung Oi-lin, or Eileen Chang, wrote the story on which the movie “Lust, Caution” was based. Now the Hong Kong Film Archive is presenting a retrospective of her work. This week, we look at Eileen Chang’s Hong Kong connection, and talk to the man who has become her literary executor.

Film Review – Farewell to Eric Rohmer

For the majority of Hollywood directors, film is about big production values, spectacle, and an emphasis on plot over character. Lots of explosions too. But for the French movie director Eric Rohmer, who died yesterday, film was mostly about the human, and more specifically about how desire and the search for love could sometimes contradict or confound intellectual rationalisation.

The Guqin – An Instrument for Self-Improvement

Last weekend, audiences had the chance to hear, in an appropriately atmospheric setting, the Nan Liang Gardens, the sounds of an instrument that’s changed little throughout the thousands of years of its existence: the guqin. We talk to guqin players and sintrument makers.

Harpist Dan Yu

On the Saturday 23rd January and Sunday 24th, young Chinese harpist Dan Yu and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra reveal two contrasting characteristics of a rarely featured solo instrument. The harp. On Saturday night they highlight the rhythmic athleticism of Buenos Aires-born composer Alberto Ginastera. On Sunday afternoon it’s the classicism of the 18th Century, as they pair harp and flute as soloists for Mozart, and play 20th century composers Copland and Bernstein. Dan Yu gives us a preview.

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In the Show – 5th January, 2010

In 1999, the former Hong Kong Fringe Festival was transmuted into the City Festival. Apart from the performing and visual arts, the festival includes cultural exchange projects, heritage and living history programmes, workshops on urban studies, and more.

It has also, each year, spotlighted different cities around the region, including Adelaide, Kaohsiung, Seoul, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Singapore.

This year, it’s looking a little closer to home, to Guangdong, and among the acts featured will be many Guangdong-based folk musicians.

Three years ago, producer Emmanuel Benbihy asked 21 directors to each make a short segment focusing on a different neighbourhood of Paris. For a movie called “Paris, je t’aime”. Now he’s returned with a similar formula in “New York, I love you”. This time there are fewer directors, and perhaps New York doesn’t have quite the same romantic cachet as Paris. Gary Pollard tells us more.

The day before we aired was the final day of the Hong Kong-Pinoy Theatre Festival, which had been running since December 4th. Organised by The Asian People’s Theatre Festival Society, it included a series of workshops that encouraged people from different ethnic groups to share their stories. We spoke to some of the participants.

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