Films Which Helped Define Hong Kong After 1997
INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002) | 無間道
Directors: Andrew Lau & Alan Mak
Cast Andy Lau, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
This great and influential thriller which was directed by Andrew Lau and scored a Hollywood remake by Martin Scorsese, under the title of Departed.
This film can be read as an analogy for HK identity crisis which was prevalent following the 1997 handover to China. There is an undercover police officer in the triads and there is also a triad member who is under cover in the police force. Neither of these individuals seems entirely sure of who they are or who they want to be. This is indicative of said identity crisis for HK residents.
DREAM HOME (2010) | 維多利亞壹號
Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
Cast: Josie Ho, Ching Wong, Helen To
Pang Ho-Cheung directs this modern horror, which stars Josie Ho, who also helped produce this film. Working 2 jobs hoping to accumulate enough money in order to buy her own apartment with a view of the Victoria Harbour, Lai Sheung (Josie Ho), vows to her parents, to buy them a new apartment, unfortunately tragic events occur and causes her to begin an obsessive search, which leads her to her perfect apartment she has always wanted.
On the verge of purchasing the apartment, unforeseen circumstances cause the purchase to fall through and the sudden rise in property price puts it beyond her reach. Angered by this sudden turn of events, she goes beyond sanity in an outrageous attempt to bring down the value of the apartment block by going on a murderous spree.
This is Pang Ho-Cheung’s commentary on the pressures of modern society and the desirability to improve one’s status in life by owning prestigious property. This is a lesson in how dangerous obsession can be.
A shocking, but extremely well made and entertaining film.
LITTLE BIG MASTER (2015) | 五個小孩的校長
Director: Adrian Kwan Shun-Fai
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Louis Koo
Miriam Yeung and Louis Koo star in this 2015 blockbuster which is based on a true story of hope and perseverance, about Lilian Lui, a former headmistress of an elite kindergarten in Discovery Bay, who was planning an around the world trip with her husband. However, her plans were put on hold, in order to help another kindergarten with only 5 students which was on the verge of closure, as developers wanted to build on the land with little regard for the local community.
This is a heart-warming and genuine movie which displays the difference a determined and caring individual can make in the society around them. As this was the highest grossing domestic film in Hong Kong during 2015, it reflects how people connected with this real life story.
A HOME WITH A VIEW (2019) | 家和萬事驚
Director: Herman Yau
Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Louis Koo Tin-Lok
The character played by Francis Ng lives with his wife, son, daughter and father in one small and cramped apartment in HK. The family are always at odds with one another, but their one solace is the view of the sea from a window in their apartment. When Tensions are high the family gather round to enjoy this calming view and all is temporarily right in their world.
When a neighbour across the street illegally erects a large sign blocking their beloved view, the family unite in an effort to get the sign removed by whatever means necessary. This is a commentary by Herman Yau about the living conditions in the HK high rises. It is comedic and a little black, but enjoyable as a film, as well as being educated at the same time.
Thanks to Hong-Kong Blu Ray for the great work in curating this list.
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