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Asian Pop-Up Cinema Adds U.S. Premiere of "Pai Niang Niang: The Last Osmanthus Blossom"

Festival Honors Hong Kong Music Legend Rebecca Pan With Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Chicago, Illinois (April 8, 2024) – The Asian Pop-Up Cinema film festival today announced an addition to its 18th season lineup with the U.S. Premiere of PAI NIANG NIANG: THE LAST OSMANTHUS BLOSSOM, directed by Isabel Wong and following legendary Hong Kong singer and actress, the boundary-pushing Rebecca Pan. The Festival is set to honor the 93-year-old Pan with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented virtually at the screening of the film set for Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 5 p.m. at AMC Newcity 14 (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.). Tickets are available online at www.asianpopupcinema.org


Rebecca Pan is not only an icon of the Hong Kong music world but also one of the city’s earliest boundary-pushing cultural pioneers. Her early career as a singer and her later success as an actress are well-known, but arguably the most important milestone of her oeuvre—the first ever Chinese-language musical, PAI NIANG NIANG (1972)—was thought to have not been captured on film and faded into obscurity. This work used the Broadway musical model to adapt the famous Chinese myth, Legend of the White Snake. Bringing together Eastern and Western theatrical styles, the production combined Chinese traditional music, dance, costume and stage design with modern Western concepts. Despite this bold attempt, the resulting work was ahead of its time and was not a commercial success. In April 2023, however, a partial film record of the performance was miraculously discovered. 


The 18th Asian Pop-Up Cinema festival opened March 20 and runs through April 21, 2024 with a new selection of films available via streaming each week, and in-person screenings each weekend. The Hong Kong Cinema Showcase, featuring nine films, is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York. The full slate of films and special guests is available at www.asianpopupcinema.org


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ABOUT ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA

Asian Pop-Up Cinema, an annual Asian Film Festival, is the brainchild of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of Sophia’s Choice, a Chicago-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit incorporated in 2015 with the multi-pronged mission of cultivating an interest in and understanding of Asian cultures via a diverse offering of Asian films; connecting the Asian film industry with local Chicago film professionals, educators, and students; and promoting Chicago as a destination for international visitors.

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