Hong Kong stories at 16th Five Flavours
The past 25 years were the time of big changes for Hong Kong. Its cinema evolved along with the city and the inhabitants. Cut off from big budgets, the filmmakers turned their attention to the everyday. The section Hong Kong Cinema in Motion is made up of touching stories about the emotions of the people of Hong Kong during these turbulent times. The section is accompanied by a virtual show Making Waves: Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema.
After 1997, the golden era of Hong Kong action cinema ended – the money was gone, the specialists left, and the global audiences lost interest. The filmmakers had to start making budget cuts and learn to rely on sources such as the previously absent city funds. Paradoxically, it opened the artists up to new possibilities and allowed those who wanted to focus on modest auteur cinema to rise to prominence.
This is how Yan Yan Mak was able to direct Butterfly, a Hong Kong cinema gem previously unknown in Poland. The story about a relationship between a woman with a stable life and a young girl was shot with immense sensitivity and illustrated with breathtaking music. Sunshine of My Life is Judy Chu’s very personal debut, in which she talks about the experience of being raised by blind parents. For years, the director fought to turn her script into a movie, before it finally caught the eye of Kara Wai herself, who ended up playing her mother. In The Narrow Road, Lam Sum is also turning his camera to the underprivileged. Made during the pandemic lockdown, the story of a friendship between a single mother and the owner of a small cleaning business is one of the best films made in the Fragrant Harbor in recent years.
25 years since the Handover
Hong Kong was handed over to China by the British on July 1, 1997. The 25th anniversary of this event is a chance to look to the future and think about the changes that the city underwent during this time, and about how this process was shown in the movies. The partner of the Hong Kong Cinema in Motion section is Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office Berlin.
Virtual photography exhibition Making Waves: Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema
Starting today, the virtual exhibition of works by four renown photographers from Hong Kong, Jupiter Wong, Wong Wai-lun, Quist Tsang, and Sharon Salad, is available online. Making Waves: Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema is a collection of photos from the sets of over 200 films made in Hong Kong in the past 25 years. Visiting the virtual exhibition is a chance to dive into the richness of Hong Kong cinema and to embark on a sentimental journey to see the legendary scenes and great stars in action. The exhibition ends on November 24.
Hu die, dir. Yan Yan Mak, Hong Kong 2004, 124’
(cinema + online)
Flavia, a married teacher, meets a young singer Yip, and the two of them enter into an intimate relationship. The unexpected romance takes the woman back to an unfulfilled love of her youth. Is she going to let herself follow her desires this time? The quiet, personal, ephemeral Butterfly is a rare example of lesbian cinema from Hong Kong, and a proof of the great, albeit not fully utilized, talent of Yan Yan Mak.
Sunshine of My Life
Yat louh tuhng hahng
dir. Judy Chu, Hong Kong 2022, 96’
(cinema + online)
The new Hong Kong cinema leaves gangster movies behind and turns towards realism and the everyday problems of the people of the city. In Sunshine of My Life debuting director Judy Chu turns the camera at her own family and talks about her experience of having blind parents. A movingly honest and authentic, bitter-sweet tale about love, sacrifice, and the need for independence.
The Narrow Road
Dzaak lou mei tsan
dir. Lam Sum, Hong Kong 2022, 115’
Candy lives in a shabby room without a window and desperately needs a job to support herself and her daughter. The city has just entered a lockdown, the job market is non-existent. Candy gets a chance from a neighbor running a cleaning company. Will she be able to use it? This warm, empathetic story about the hardships of a pandemic life is the crowning achievement of the recent Cantonese-language social cinema.
Full program of Hong Kong Cinema In Motion section:
- Infernal Affairs / Mou gaan dou, dir. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak, Hong Kong 2002
- Love in a Puff / Chi Ming yi Chun Kiu, dir. Pang Ho-Cheung, Hong Kong 2010
- Sunshine of my Life / Yat louh tuhng hahng, dir. Judy Chu, Hong Kong 2022
- Butterfly / Hu die, dir. Yan Yan Mak, Hong Kong 2004
- PTU, dir. Johnnie To, Hong Kong 2003
- Septet: The Story of Hong Kong / Qi ren yue dui, dir. Ann Hui, Sammo Hung, Ringo Lam, Patrick Tam, Johnnie To, Hark Tsui, Yuen Woo-ping, Hong Kong 2020
- Chasing the Dragon / Chui lung, dir. Jason Kwan, Jing Wong, Hong Kong 2017
- The Narrow Road / Zhai lu wei chen, dir. Lam Sum, Hong Kong 2022