In the Show – 27th April 2010

Wu Guanzhong is considered one of the most important 20th century Chinese painters. Last year he donated 33 paintings to Hong Kong, following earlier donations in 1995 and 2002. The new group consists of 12 oil paintings and 21 ink paintings completed between 2005 and 2009. From now until August, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is running “The Lofty Integrity: Donations of Work by Wu Guanzhong”, a collection of 51 of the artist’s works.

Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer”, based on a Robert Harris novel, is about an author who is given the job of ghosting the autobiography of a former British prime minister, not too loosely based on Tony Blair. But there could be problems. He got the job because the man who was doing it before him has died in suspicious circumstances, the prime minister is under investigation for handing terrorist suspects over to the United States for CIA torture, and he soon finds himself drawn more deeply into the world of his subject than he would like. Gary Pollard’s here to tell us more.

In his new work: “Opening Doors With A New Set of Keys” choreographer Allen Lam combines dance, music, video imagery, and Chinese poetry. He says he wants to erase the boundaries between different realms of art. The Chinese title of the dance is inspired by a ci poem from the Song Dynasty by Xin Qiji, “Rendezvous on the Night of the Lantern Festival”. Seven dancers represent the stars in the sky.They come from different backgrounds: Chinese dance, ballet, and Latin ballroom dance. Allen combines them to choreograph a “new set of keys”.

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In the Show – 20th April 2010

Described as a “conceptual circus”, “Hope and Glory” is Simon Birch’s most ambitious project to date. Occupying 20,000 square feet in Artistree in Taikoo Place, it merges themes and fragments of Birch’s life. Initially Birch was planning to fund the project out of his own pocket. But given the scale and the ambition of the exhibition, he finally managed to obtain HK$2 million in funding from the governments “Mega Events Fund” for non-profit organisations. Birch calls the project a labour of love.

“Along the River During Qingming Festival” is a scroll painting by the imperial painter Zhang Zeduan. It has been called China’s greatest single art work.The painting depicts the complex street scenes of Bianjing, the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, with painstaking detail and from a multi-point perspective.It has now been turned into a dance by the Hong Kong Dance Company.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s “A Serious Man” is a film about whether there’s a God, the meaning of life, or indeed if it has a meaning. It’s about Larry Gopnik, a physics professor who lectures on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle, who finds himself suffering a modern version of the trials of Job. But at least Job was pretty sure who was tormenting him. As Gary Pollard tells us, it sounds like serious stuff, but it’s the blackest and bleakest of comedies.

In our studio, we have violin and guitar in unison, as Andrea Zanchetta performs with Tina Karen Lo.

In the Show – 13th April 2010

It’s very likely that viewers of The Works, as well as watching our reports on the local arts scene, will want to read the occasional magazine on cultural issues. If you’ve been keeping up with Hong Kong’s cultural activities long enough you may have noticed that these magazines appear and disappear with sometimes bewildering speed. Often the magazines are losing their funding from the Arts Development Council, and are complaining that they are not being told why.

In the movie “Date Night” Steve Carell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, a suburban couple with two children who are in a bit of a rut. When they hear that two of their friends are splitting up out of boredom, both decide that on their next regular “Date Night” they will pull out all the stops. They are going into town, to an uber-trendy restaurant called Claw. They problem is they forget to book, and when they pretend to be a no-show couple, the Tripplehorns to try and take their table, their problems really begin. The Tripplehorns have got on the wrong side of the local underworld. Reviewer Gary Pollard tells us more.

And we have a treat for those interested in Hong Kong’s own Indie music scene, as local band “Noughts and Exes” play in our studio, and talk to us about their new CD.

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In the Show – 6th April 2010

Bossa nova songstress Lisa Ono was born in Brazil. Her parents took her back to Japan with them when she was ten. Her father opened a Brazilian restaurant in Japan, and it was here she began singing in public. She was drawn to the music of her childhood. The night before our programme, she performed a concert in Hong Kong. She spoke to The Works.

Performing in our studio, cast members of “Remembering the Sixties” talk to us about the show and treat us to a colourful rendition of “Let the Sunshine In”, and “The Rhythm of Life”.

In Part Two of the show tonight, a story that was a labour of love for our film reviewer Gary Pollard. The Hong Kong International Film Festival, is featuring, among other things, a short retrospective of the work of Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi. In 1979, Krzysztof Zanussi played a short part in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s second film, “Camera Buff”. He was by this time already an acclaimed filmmaker, known for films like his 1972 semi-autobiographical “Illumination”, about a young physicist looking for certainty but confronting the uncertainties of life. Other Polish filmmakers like Andresz Wajda were more overtly political, but like Kieslowski, Krzysztof Zanussi was dealing with more complex moral issues. His 1971 “Family Life” reflected a disintegrating society in its story of an engineer who returned to his family after a long absence, only to discover that his relatives are mostly alcoholic, suicidal or insane. 1977’s “Camouflage” is about a young idealistic language teacher trying to resist the cynical and corrupt worldview of an older professor. In 1980’s “The Constant Factor” a young engineer clashes with the corrupt society around him. In his latest film “Revisited” Zanussi returns to the protagonists of those three movies to see how they have changed in the intervening years.

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