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- "The Black Balloon" Named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office for 2008
- Film Workshop "Cinema: Going Beyond the Barriers" in Prague
- First SIGNIS East Asia Film Seminar 2008: "Depiction of Core Family Values in East Asian Movies"
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First SIGNIS East Asia Film Seminar 2008: "Depiction of Core Family Values in East Asian Movies"
Hong Kong, December 12, 2008 (SIGNIS Hong Kong) - The challenges we are facing in this modern, mediated society in regards to our traditions on family values were highlighted and discussed at the First SIGNIS East Asian Film Seminar 2008. It was an accredited course, organized by SIGNIS HONG KONG and the Holy Spirit Seminary College, Hong Kong.
The 4-day-long seminar, whose theme was “Depiction of Core Family Values in East Asian Movies”, raised the curtain on 29 November by screening Horton Hears a Who at a cinema downtown. Nearly 200 people attended the film-show, including the Most Reverend John Tong, the Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong. They all enjoyed the film very much as the screening house was full of laughter.
“In today’s modern society, people were too busy to slow down and to understand oneself. The lack of interpersonal communication, especially within family created severe problems.” said by Fr. Peter Chung, Vicar General and the guest speaker from Macau. He also highlighted the emigration of Hong Kong people before and after the handover in 1997 might change the family perception as well.
Fr. Kim Min-Soo, secretary for the office of social communications, Korean Catholic Bishops Conference presented the existing situation in Korea: “Due to high increases in divorce cases and low birth rate, together with the idea of cohabitation and aging, Korea is now experiencing family collapse rather than crisis”. There were new trends on the family structure; among them were “weekend couples” and “DINK” (Double Income No Kid). Perceptions on family, marriage, equality of gender and relationship between parents and children were changed accordingly and being depicted in local films.
Taiwan shared similar findings with Korea. In fact, Taiwan experienced lots of political, economic and social changes that also challenged our traditional family values. Fr. Jerry Martinson, Vice President of Kuangchi Program Service in Taiwan illustrated his findings through Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman and Secret directed by Jay Chou, nowadays a young pop Taiwanese idol. Participants were amazed to discover the portraits of family values in new Taiwanese cinema.
As we know, Japanese films are very powerful and popular in Asia. Apart from the students of Holy Spirit Seminary Collage and faithful participated, there were delegates from Japan. Erika Ukai, a Japanese film producer explained the transition of core family values depicted in Japanese films after wars. Clips from Tokyo Tale (directed by Ozu Yasujiro), I Live in Fear: Record of a Living Being (directed by Kurosawa Akira) and Abandoning of Old Parent (directed by Kinoshita Keisuke) have been shown. The presentation was followed by a very enthusiastic open floor discussion.
One should not neglect films from Mainland China as they were now started to blossom. In the 1980s, audiences around the world rediscovered Chinese Cinema through the work of the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers. And, a new breed of filmmakers emerged. Dr. Dominic Yung, a film scholar from Hong Kong gave a guest lecture on the contemporary Chinese directors, to examine the new generation of Chinese cinema. Though their films were made in a variety of styles, but they all shared a sense of vibrancy and vitality. Prominent contemporary Chinese directors include Gu Chang Wei, Jia Zhan Gke, Wang Xiao Shuai and Zhang Yang.
The mechanism of film distribution and marketing strategy were always a mystery to film buffs. In the last session, Anita Cheung, General Manager (Hong Kong) of 20th Century Fox International Corporation shared with the participants the nowadays situation in Hong Kong. In fact, SIGNIS HONG KONG collaborated with the corporation on several occasions, for instance, assisted the translation of Chinese subtitles on The Passion of Christ and organized charity film preview on X-Men: The Last Stand for the 4th Asian Youth Day 2006.
The seminar was sponsored by SIGNIS Asia and considered as a continuous project. It is expected to setup a movie database of family values for research purpose in the near future. Those films being introduced in the seminar will be provided with synopsis as well as directors’ biography. Materials will be stored up for 24-hour browsing.