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Hong Kong “ghost comedies” shown in Toronto’s Asian Heritage Month

Posted in: Press Releases

May 27th, 2010

The finale of this year’s Asian Heritage Month celebrations in Toronto will be highlighted by a presentation of two classic Hong Kong “ghost comedies” — “Esprit D’Amour” and “The Occupant” — at the Innis Town Hall of the University of Toronto this Saturday  afternoon.

Hosted by the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute and supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Canada, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and the Cinema Studies Institute at the university, the event will take place at Innis Town Hall’s cinema at 2 Sussex Avenue (southwest corner of St. George/Bloor). Admission is free, but participants are required to register online at www.utoronto.ca/ai to secure a seat.

Doors will open at 3.30pm with the screening of “Esprit D’Amour” at 4pm. A discussion panel on Hong Kong films will be held between 6pm and 7.30pm, to be followed by a light reception. The screening of the second film – “The Occupant” – will start at 8pm.  

The discussion panel on the two films will be chaired by Dr Bart Testa of the Cinema Studies Institute, and Colin Geddes, International Programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Geddes, a film archivist, earlier this year donated his private collection of Asian films, including 120 Hong Kong feature films, to the University of Toronto. The collection, spanning the 1970s through the 1990s, includes some of the rare early work of critically acclaimed and award-winning directors such as Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark and John Woo. 

 The two Cantonese “ghost comedies” — with English subtitling — are filled with horror (and laughter).  The panel speakers will use them to demonstrate the creativity, culture and development of Hong Kong’s film industry.

 ”Esprit D’Amour” (1983), produced by Ringo Lam, tells the story of an insurance investigator (Alan Tam) falling in love with the ghost of the young woman whose death he is investigating. When his parents find out that he is in love with a spirit, they hire an exorcist to get rid of her. The film mingles three different love stories and shows the eternity of love.

 ”The Occupant” (1984), produced by Ronny Yu, is a mish-mash of genres which is a special feature of Hong Kong films. The cast includes Chow Yun-fat and Sally Yeh. The film is about a Canadian girl who travels to Hong Kong to do her thesis, and the apartment she rents is haunted by the ghost of a pop singer who killed herself after a spat with her married lover.

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Chinese version on next page.

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