Mandarin dialect was the dialect used in late 1950s Hong Kong films-- but one man in the early 1960s wanted to change not just what audiences heard, but also SAW of Hong Kong on screen.
"I wanted to show audiences real Hong Kong environments," said director and actor "Patrick" Lung Kong upon receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) on Aug.15.
This weekend and next, a nine-film retrospective of Lung Kong's work will be screened at MOMI. In addition Lung Kong will be on hand to talk about his works on Aug. 16 & 17.
Later generations of Hong Kong filmmakers cite Lung Kong as one of their formative influences for getting into the business. In a Wong Kar-Wai series last year at MOMI, Wong Kar-Wai told the curatorial staff the person MOMI should be having a retrospective on was Lung Kong.
"You are a master and my honored teacher," said John Woo in a videotaped message. "My 1986 film "A Better Tomorrow" (starring Chow Yun-Fat; will be screened this Saturday @ 7PM) was in part paying tribute to Lung Kong's masterpiece 'The Story of a Discharged Prisoner.' "
"I had two goals," said Lung Kong in a discussion before a screening of "The Story of a Discharged Prisoner" on Friday .
"One, Cantonese was a major dialect of Hong Kong. So, why not have the audience see on film their daily culture in part by hearing their tongue on film? Two, I wanted those viewers to see their city in its different environments. Before that, movie sets didn't look real at all. Also, throughout the shooting process my thought was to have viewers experience the WOW factor as much as possible."