Made in Hong Kong / 香港製造 (1997) (4k restoration: 2017)
Directed by: Fruit Chan
Written by: Fruit Chan
Cast: Sam Lee, Wenders Li, Amy Tam, Neiky Yim, Carolina Lam
Review: This was a screening of the 4k restoration marking the film’s 20th anniversary. I had never heard of this Hong Kong film but am glad to have gotten the chance to watch it. It focuses on a young man named Moon (Same Lee). He’s a high school drop out who does debt collecting for a local triad boss. He has a friend named Sylvester (Wenders Li) who is retarded. Moon protects him from bullies. One day Sylvester witnesses a girl committing suicide by jumping from a building. She has two letters, one for her boyfriend and one for her family. He takes them and from then on it seems to Moon that their lives begin to spiral downwards.
This is a portrait of not only Moon but Hong Kong in general at the time before the handover. He and the other characters are flawed but interesting and apparently most of them were played by non-professionals. It’s easy to become immersed in the daily lives of these characters. Things only get more interesting when a sick girl, Ping (Neiky Yim), whom Moon falls for comes into the picture. There isn’t really a well-defined story plot but it essentially boils down to Moon wanting something more for himself but not really knowing how to get it and becoming involved in shady activity with a local gang boss. It doesn’t romanticize gangsters the way some other movies have although the ending is somewhat predictable for the genre. The city of Hong Kong itself is also its own character.
Technically, the camera work and soundtrack are very good. It’s hard to for me to explain why. This is one of those movies where I wish I could write a better review but there’s definitely layers to it that I think that need repeated viewings to appreciate. I want to watch this again and I definitely recommended this film.
Seen in the theater at Fantasia film festival.