movie buff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am

WU ZHONG XIAN: A HONG KONG STORY


A marathon of films, videos and animations about our city will be screened next Saturday at a one-day film-fest dubbed I See: My City, courtesy of the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards. The free screenings will be at the Agnes b. CINEMA.


Kicking off the programme at 10.45am is the docudrama The Life and Times of Wu Zhong Xian.


Directed by independent filmmaker Evans Chan, the 72-minute film is a fascinating portrait of a pioneer activist who started out as a leader of the city's radical student movement in the 1970s and ended up a disillusioned entrepreneur. Mr Wu died from cancer in 1994.


The late 1960s and early 70s were a time of widespread restlessness among the world's youth. Many young people around the world were affected by the May 1968 events in France, during which students embracing left-wing causes, anarchism and communism went on strike, sparking off a general strike that led to the collapse of the de Gaulle government.


Revolution was in the air. Young people were idolising political icons such as Mao Zedong, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, while dreaming of breaking down the old social order and creating a new one.


Wu was a leading figure in Hong Kong's new wave of young idealists, spearheading the anti-colonialism movement and founding a radical youth magazine.


Several people Wu hung out with at the time - such as John Woo and Mok Chiu-yu - are now internationally renowned artists and social activists.


The idealism of Wu and his friends was doomed to wither in Hong Kong's politically apathetic climate. In the 80s and early 90s, when the economy was booming, Wu worked briefly as editor of Playboy magazine, before setting up a children's magazine and other publications, all of which eventually failed.


The film is based on a 1997 stage production of the same name created by Mok Chiu-yu and other friends of Wu. The result is a touching portrait of a largely unfulfilled life marked by turbulence, romance and irony.


Wu's story is a reflection of a significant and colourful chapter of Hong Kong history.


We have five sets of two full-day passes for the I See: My City marathon screenings to give away. Send your e-mail requests to syp@scmp.com, giving your age, telephone number and mailing address. First come, first served.