Ahhh, Hong Kong, city of ten thousand delights, many of them edible. It’s possible to spend your entire time in this city just eating, and enjoying it immensely. No matter what you want to eat, you’ll find it in Hong Kong, often in a tiny hole-in-the-wall noodle joint so packed you have to climb over the furniture to sit down. Me, I’ve got a particular fondness for dumpling soup, and man oh man, did I indulge.
Aside from eating, of course, Deni and myself did see a whole bunch of films. Well, we take our jobs seriously, and when the task in hand is watching Asian movies, we’re ready to take on as much as is on offer.
In fact, because there were two of us this year, and we saw so many films, we’re changing the report format: there’ll be a short general report, then a bunch of links to all the reviews of films that screened.
HKIFF was run by different people this year, and despite the absence of swag (don’t think we didn’t notice), it went off pretty well. One good idea was to have the Opening Night swank outdoors. Hong Kong in April is glorious, and so we milled happily in velvety warm air, trying to catch glimpses of famous faces. And there were plenty: Jackie was there, beaming his big goofy grin; Daniel Wu, looking the epitome of the handsome young Chinese man about town in a traditional gown; Charlene Choi in a short skirt with her shoulders pulled back so far her elbows were nearly touching; and Nagase Masatoshi, star of The Hidden Blade, looking amazingly cool in a tight striped suit with pointy cowboy boots.
Opening Night was also the occasion of the screening of Johnnie To’s short film, The Open Road. And there to be photographed were three of the film’s four stars, Edison Chen, alas, being absent. But Louis Koo was very much present, and I have to say that he is one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous men on the planet. You might think he looks good on film, well, I have to tell you that he was the centre of a 100-metre wide zone of wide-eyed, panting females. I suspect even the female fish in the harbour got a little dizzy. I can’t say I was immune, although I’m putting it down to all the Skye vodka I was imbibing (Skye were one of the sponsors, and very nice vodka it is too).
Other personally-attended highlights included the premiere of House Of Fury, which gave us director/actor Stephen Fung, actor Daniel Wu, and actor (sort of) Michael Wong, who seemed to be having almost as much fun as we were; and Otakus In Love, which was attended by a producer whose name no-one remembers and the very beautiful Matsuda Ryuhei, who looked sweet and geeky, and whose car was apparently chased all down the street by screaming fans.
Another highlight for fans of HK cinema was the artist spotlight: each year, HKIFF focuses on one actor or director, showing a selection of their work, and this year it was Andy Lau Tak Wah. Lordy lordy, just about the most handsome man in Asia, the man who recently featured in Esquire magazine as the epitome of Male Perfection, being showcased for our delectation. Bless you, HKIFF, and I mean that most sincerely. Can’t wait to see who’ll be in the spotlight next year.
Anyway, enough wiffling: on to the reviews!