Made in Hong Kong

dir. Fruit Chan

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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A low-rent wannabe gangster attempts to wheel and deal his way through the Hong Kong underworld in director Fruit Chan's gritty and stylish low-life portrait.

"Every frame of this tale of wasted youth and irresponsible adults — possibly Hong Kong's most acclaimed indie feature ever — screams of muffled anguish" (Edmund Lee, Time Out Hong Kong). Where the glistening reveries of Wong Kar-wai and the stately melodramas of Stanley Kwan have become the designated standard-bearers of Hong Kong's Second Wave, Fruit Chan delivers a far more kinetic, punk-rock experience in his gritty low-life portraits, most often situated in the pungent underbelly of Hong Kong's ghettoes. Winner of a passel of awards, the independently made, ultra-low-budget Made in Hong Kong focuses on low-rent wannabe gangster Chung-chau (played with extraordinary intensity by first-timer Sam Lee) as he ineffectively attempts to wheel and deal his way through the Hong Kong underworld, his desperation palpable. The film follows his downwards trajectory into triad violence as he tries to forge some kind of emotional connection to two teenage girls, one a suicide who leaves behind a letter that obsesses him, the other a debt-ridden beauty in need of a kidney transplant. Released in the same year that Hong Kong was returned to the Mainland, Made in Hong Kong is often considered the culmination and the ne plus ultra of the "handover anxiety film," the unofficial genre visible in various guises throughout the preceding two decades of Hong Kong cinema.

Print courtesy Fairchild Films International Ltd.