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March 22, 2005

Dateline: Hong Kong Filmart

Hong Kong has rolled all its film events into one great big ball in an attempt to regain some film industry momentum, and the supernova-esque film market is whirling away madly at the Hong Kong Convention Center -- the building that seems to blow up in almost every movie.

The opening gala kicked off with the current chief executive, Donald Tsang, quoting Karen Carpenter AND Bruce Lee before a 10-minute montage of Great Hong Kong Movie Moments unfurled with live orchestral accompaniment (oddly enough, there wasn't a single shot from a Cathay movie -- for shame!) Then came an endless parade of stars: Chow Yun-fat being too cool for school; Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung looking startled to receive an award for "Most Adorable Screen Couple. The audience was also occasionally horrified by a presenter who did the robot.

Jackie Chan worked the room like a pro -- love him or hate him he's a star because he's good -- and was one of the only people onstage who seemed to know where he actually was.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS power couple, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, screened a clip from their car racing flick, INITIAL D, that didn't include a single shot of a human being.

The three show-stoppers were trailers for upcoming films. The first was for for Johnnie To's new flick, ELECTION, the first in a two-part triad drama starring Simon Yam and big Tony Leung. Edited by Patrick Tam it's got a thick n'hot, atonal orchestral score and the stage positively reeked of machismo as the entire cast strutted up in natty black suits (Lam Suet boldly wore a leather smock that looked like something from the PLANET OF THE APES costume department - go, Lam!)

Then there was SHA PO LANG -- this trailer keeps looking better. Sammo Hung (unfortunately wearing a white jacket and black pants), Donnie Yen (looking sleek), and Simon Yam (looking studly) all seemed as cool as a bunch of actors who know they've got a slam dunk on their hands should seem. Some film details: it's set on Father's Day and concerns fathers and sons reconciling their differences by hitting each other a lot. The claim is that the action is wireless. Wu Jing plays the baddie (he's the guy in the trailer with the Kid N'Play haircut) and he's getting a big push from the producers -- he trained on the same wu shu team as Jet Li and is a four time Chinese national champion. He's also a Yuen Wo-ping protege' who was in TAI CHI 2, LEGEND OF ZU and DRUNKEN MONKEY.

EYE INFINITY from the Pang Brothers was there and it's kind of wacky looking, but its short li'l trailer still squeezed out some chills with its phantasmagoria of funky Chinese ghosts. What was somewhat scarier is how identical the Pang Brothers look.

Stanley Kwan is doing an IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE thing with the aptly titled EVERLASTING REGRET -- Sammi Cheng and Tony Leung Ka-fai as starcrossed lovers in old Shanghai (well, Shanghai from 1929 - 1981). William Chang (Wong Kar-wai's art director) is the art director and editor and the trailer was so lush it was dripping all over the audience. Lots of close-ups of fabric and neckties.

There's a new law in Hong Kong that every movie must include Daniel Wu -- he was onstage so much they finally pulled up an E-Z Boy recliner for him and just let him stay onstage for every single film.

March 22, 2005 at 01:40 AM in News | Permalink


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