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Interview with HK film historian Law Kar
A Love for Cinema 1/1 - Page 1
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
David Vivier
Date : 12/1/2005
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Law Kar
Freddie Wong Kwok Siu
Articles :
Interview with Freddie Wong, curator at the HKIFF Society
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Law Kar is a veteran film critic specialised in the Hong Kong film history. Law worked as a film critic, editor, and writer for stage, film, and television. He had been a programmer for the Hong Kong Cinema Retrospective Section of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) since 1989. In 2004 he co-authored the excellent tome “Hong Kong Cinema: A Cross-Cultural View” with Frank Bren (still available on Amazon). Law currently serves as the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) guest programmer.

A love for cinema

HKCinemagic: Can you talk a bit about yourself?
Law Kar: When I was in the university, I felt in love with cinema, because maybe I studied mathematics a bit too much and had too much homework. At the end of the day I’d take a train to the town centre and go to the movies. That’s how I felt in love with the movies, because I hate regular courses, writing and doing a lot of exercises. Movies were a good entertainment for me and something to talk [about] with my friends.
After graduation, I happened to work with a weekly magazine, and they had a page on cinema, and I became the editor of the cinema page. I really liked reading and going to the movies and belonging to a group of authors of the same age. That was in the 1960s.
I was attracted by the new cinema of the world, especially the French New Wave. From the 1960s, we became some kind of critics. That set the basis for my film studies on that kind of filmmakers. For some years I worked for the press and for some magazines, and then for ten years I worked for a [local] TV station and for cinemas.

In the 1990s, I was recommended by Albert Lee, and I came to work for the HKIFF. I worked there for more than ten years, I think 11 years, and since then I’ve had stronger and stronger interest in the research on HK and Chinese cinema. Not just writing reviews, but researching the history with historical materials of Chinese cinema, you know, films, and image or printed materials.
And so I came onboard as a programmer of the HK retrospective section. I had to see a lot of old films from China and Hong Kong and then organize seminars, conferences, and edit books and do programming.

From 1990 on, I began, so to speak, to research on Chinese cinema. And that interest has last up until now. Now I am not in the researching section, I am in the programming section, for theatres, for outside shows and for the film festival. I myself would like to write and do my private research on subject like Chinese and HK cinema.

HKCinemagic: So were you working closely with Freddie Wong (curator at the HKIFF in 2005, see our interview)?
Law Kar: I’ve been working closely with Li Cheuk To and Jacob Wong. I missed the chance to work with Freddie Wong because he worked for the first few editions of the festival. I came in, he was out and now he is back, but I left the HKIFF for the HKFA. But he used to be good friend too.
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