Sunday 19 October 2008

Made in Hong Kong [1997]

Made in Hong Kong, directed by Fruit Chan, is perhaps the archetypal art-house indie movie. In many ways it is similar to Tsai Ming-Liang’s Rebels of the Neon God – it is an ultra-low budget movie with a very minimalist approach, it relies as much on stark realism as it does on surrealism and psychedelic feel, and it is unabashed in its depiction of the crime-ridden, amoral and socially disillusioned underbelly of Hong Kong (as the Ming-Liang movie was where Taiwan was concerned). However, where the Taiwanese movie was exceedingly harrowing, this one (though still disorienting) is a tad more lyrical and evocative. The acting is good, the camerawork is fluid, and the chemistry between the three protagonists and the dead fourth character managed to present a semblance of hope in an otherwise exceedingly unforgiving and brutally lonely urban milieu. The extreme low-budget approach might be jarring at times, but the director’s intimate and personal style has ensured that the movie manages to disturb and engross in equal measures.

Director: Fruit Chan
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Crime Drama/Coming of Age
Language: Chinese (Cantonese/Mandarin)
Country: China (Hong Kong)

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