Film Review - Made in Hong Kong
This film is such an important part of cinema history. Not just Hong Kong cinema, but the medium in general!
An uncomfortably realistic coming of age story.
A brutal insight into low level triad and gang culture.
A beautifully realised account of the intense madness of young love.
An eye opening look at the state of Hong Kong when the UK returned sovereignty over the British Dependent Territory of Hong Kong to China.
The budget was ridiculously shoestring and apparently Fruit shot it using a crew of only five and utilising discarded film reels that he’d collected during his time as an assistant director. He also used authentic locations and employed non-professional actors, a decision fraught with danger but here an inspired choice. The result is a film with youthful exuberance, exciting energy and a genuine look and feel all of its own. It has elements of Wong Kar-Wai’s CHUNGKING EXPRESS just as much as it has elements of Larry Clark’s KIDS. It’s a crazy mix and it works so damn well!
The real reason I love this film so much is because of how much I love the two main characters! Mid-Autumn and Ping are both such well written and pitch perfectly performed protagonists and it kind of blows my mind that they were non-professional actors. Obviously Sam Lee moved on to great things and is still working today, but Neiky Yim reprised the role of Ping one more time in Fruit’s LITTLE CHEUNG a couple years later but never acted again after that.
Despite the chaotic nature of their lives and the constant danger that is always around the corner, I always felt like an affinity to them both. Mid-Autumn has posters of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL over his bed whilst Ping has MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO above hers! I loved all of these films when I was that age too and it definitely helped me empathise with them more.
There is so much nostalgia in this film for me. I was 14 when it came out but saw it for the first time when I was about 18 and watching it again now in my thirties brings back so many memories. It makes me so happy and so sad at the same time. In the film’s final act I found myself crying harder than I have in any other film so far this year. It was a beautiful feeling.
It’s a profound film and I’m so glad I got to revisit it in such a beautiful 4K transfer thanks to Eureka and their ‘Masters of Cinema’ series. I can’t recommend it enough!
Ben Chanllenor, Mar 2021
Fruit Chan's Made in Hong Kong is Available here