A Film Man’s Memoir of A Lost Asia
Format 298 pages. Paperback.8.5*5.5. Category: Fiction. Price HKD/RMB 120. ISBN 978-988-18419-5-7
This memoir of young American film-man Marvin Farkas’s life in Hong Kong of the 1950s and 1960s looks set to be one of the biggest Asia books of 2011. Full of vivid stories and characters, the book is a classic tale of a young man’s rite of passage and a first-hand account of some of the key events and personalities of a now lost era.
Arriving in Hong Kong in 1954 on the cargo ship Eastern Saga, Marvin took up lodgings at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) launching his career with only US$200 and the camera which he had taken from his father’s new York studio. Beginning as a copy editor on the now defunct Hong Kong paper the Tiger Standard, Marvin soon established himself as a budding news photographer, covering local events from the fatal Cathay Pacific crash of 1954, to the infamous ‘Peak Tram Murder’, in which he nearly had a starring role…
Within weeks of arriving in Hong Kong, Marvin had also started the Farkas Film Company. His work providing footage for the big international news networks of the day took him all around the region, from Indonesia to Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Taiwan, and gave him a front line view of some of the momentous changes sweeping the region.
Marvin also worked on some of the biggest Asia films of the day and with stars of the screen such as Marlon Brando. Other perks of his job included regularly directing fashion shoots with top models, something which lady’s man Marvin certainly appreciated… at least until he met Mary Jo, the woman he decided he had to marry.
As Hong Kong was Marvin’s base, and his home for the past fifty years, the book is full of delightful descriptions of Hong Kong of the 1950s and early 1960s, and beautifully captures the city of that day. Mavin describes everything from the FCC to the dives of Wan Chai, from the high life on the Peak to opium dens in the walled city, and from encounters with Chinese refugees to days at the beach.
An Eastern Saga covers Marvin’s experiences of events ranging from the expulsion of the Dutch from Indonesia, to Malaysian independence and the early years of the Vietnam war, and his meetings with key figures including Zhou Enlai, Sukarno, Ali Bhutto, and legendary director Satyajit Ray. Above all though, this is a charming and priceless account of the Asia of fifty years ago.
Following its Hong Kong launch, An Eastern Saga will also be available at good book stores in mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand and online from Amazon.com.
About the author of An Eastern Saga
Marvin Farkas is an American film maker and former Broadway star who travelled to the Far East in search of adventure and excitement. As a news correspondent/cameraman he covered wars in Vietnam and Cambodia and the Indo/Pakistani conflict. He was on the scene filming student uprisings in Japan and Korea. He filmed earthquakes in Bali and floods in Pakistan and was on hand for important political transitions across Asia. He gained the reputation as the man who always got his story. Marvin has also been a film producer. Originally from the Bronx, Marvin is still a fixture at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club.