Cantonese Opera Legends Yam Kim-fai and Pak Suet-sin Return to The Silver Screen

Why We Recommend it

Three iconic 1950s films co-starring two of the biggest Cantonese opera stars will be screened at the Xiqu Centre.


This film programme celebrates the on-screen chemistry between two Cantonese opera legends: Yam Kim-fai (任劍輝) (b. 1913-1989, Foshan) and Pak Suet-sin (白雪仙) (b. 1926, Guangzhou).

In the romantic comedy How the Scholar Tong Pak-fu Won the Maid Chau Heung (1957), Ming-dynasty scholar Tong Pak-fu’s falls in love with Chau Heung, a ravishing maid employed by high-ranking official Wah. Wooing Chau is not an easy feat, but Tong is determined to try. In order to be near her, he lies his way into the Wah household as a tutor for the official’s two idiotic sons. However, Wah’s sons also scheme to win over Chau…

In folktale Happy Wedding (1959) a prince in distress and a spoilt princess have to get married in order to maintain peace between their two states. The pairing of Yam, who trades her usual on-screen persona as an upright scholar for a canny prince in distress, and Pak’s sassy portrayal of the mischievous princess, conjures up intense chemistry in this much celebrated Yam-Pak production.

Based on a frequently revived opera by Ming dynasty librettist Tang Xianzu, The Legend of the Purple Hairpin is an all-time favourite in the golden age of Cantonese opera. The story follows the return of a purple jade hairpin to its owner which leads to an intricate love affair between courtesan Siu-yuk and scholar Yik, who is bounded by the wills of a high official who plots to have Yik marry his own daughter. Will the lovers succumb or remain faithful to each other?

Please note that the films are screened in Cantonese without English subtitles. How the Scholar Tong Pak-fu Won the Maid Chau Heung and Happy Wedding will be supplemented with Chinese subtitles. No subtitles will be provided for The Legend of the Purple Hairpin.


When: 26 Jan 2019 - 27 Jan 2019 Where: Seminar Hall, Xiqu Centre – 88 Austin Road West – Tsim Sha Tsui