1997 | Cantonese | DCP | Color | 100min | Chinese Subtitle
Director: Fruit Chan．Scriptwriter: Fruit Chan．Cinematographer: O Sing-pui, Lam Wah-chuen．Editor: Tin Sam-fat．Art Director: Ma Ka-kwan．Music: Lam Wah-chuen
Cast: Sam Lee, Wenbers Li, Neiky Yim, Amy Tam
Producer: Andy Lau, Doris Yang．Production: Nicetop Independent, Team Work Production House．World Sales: Focus Films
Fruit Chan’s Hong Kong is rougher and more real than the Hong Kong of John Woo. Made in Hong Kong chronicles the exploits of three lower-class teenagers desperately looking to escape their dead-end lives. There are no seductive nightscapes and cathartic gun battles here, just menacing housing projects and a dirty harbor full of broken dreams. Shot on leftover film stock, Made in Hong Kong is a true independent film that channels the rebellious, resilient spirit of its namesake city.
Date: 12/4 (Wednesday)
Venue: HK Cultural Centre Grand Theatre
Free admission for all screenings. Tickets are available to public on-site 30 minutes prior to each screening on a first-come, first served basis. Limit to one ticket per person.
How was Made in Hong Kong conceived?
The meager income and lack of autonomy in directing had kept me away for a few years. But after assisting so many directors I’d decided to make a film for myself! It was 1995—the centenary of cinema—and I’d just finished a film deal featuring a fresh new cast. The scene-by-scene shooting script was ready, but the boss decided that the film had no market. So I bypassed him and did it myself. Andy Lau’s Team Work Production had some 40,000 feet of leftover film stock, which I used. I started writing a script about the irresponsible, mean-spirited, devil-may-care attitudes of some young people in Hong Kong. I’d found that these young people had no clue about their future as 1997 drew close. They had no prospects in life.
The film is set in a housing estate. Where does your experience of that environment come from?
I spent more than 10 years of my life in public housing, which I consider a microcosm of Hong Kong society. In Sau Mau Ping or Tsz Wan Shan many youngsters joined the triads. In my mind, public housing estates cast a dark shadow. Either you do your best to get out, or your future is hell. The housing estates in my film actually look much less morbid and sleazy than what I remember! Doing research in Kwai Chung, I found that youngsters had already moved out. Most of those left were old people, and the whole place was timeworn and dilapidated. I’d even thought of including a history of Hong Kong public housing, but needed to keep the film to an acceptable length. Public housing developed as Hong Kong evolved, but after all these years, there are few improvements beyond the most basic amenities. Limited by production considerations, I wasn’t able to film the young people in open spaces and had to confine the shooting to their claustrophobic flats. But I managed to portray three different public housing environments: Moon’s home is marked by a long, dark corridor; Ping’s home is comparatively more open, with a huge central courtyard; and finally, where Moon commits suicide is a seven-storey old-style housing block in Kwai Chung, where several households still share a toilet.
Interview with Fruit Chan, Hong Kong Panorama 97-98