Sunday, January 29, 2012

0506HK (2007) Celebrating Chinese New Year!

Filmmaker Quentin Lee explores whether he wants to move back to Hong Kong or whether he should stay in the US.

Lee and his family moved to Canada when he was 12, during the period where Hong Kong was a tizzy about what was going to happen in in 1997 when the city was returned to China. About the time that he went to Berkley his parents split up and his mother moved back to the city. The result was that he ended up splitting his time between his Dad in Canada and his mom in Hong Kong.

Framed as a trip to see his mom for Christmas the film is an examination of what it means to leave the place you're born and return. Its a search for culture, and how the people who stay in a place all their life (as some of Lee's friends had) and how others who left and return see the same place. Over the course of the the hour long film Lee talks to friends, family and a few people he meets along along the way to get their view of Hong Kong, culture and where they belong.

As some one who knows Hong Kong from the movies and from the stories of friends this is a kick in the head. Its a look at what it means to live in the city. It's so nice to see the city as more than just a movie location, now it's a place that people really live and work.

More interesting it's a film about what it means to be strung between places and cultures. Lee's heart is very much in China...but it's also very much in Los Angeles, the first place he ever chose to call home after growing up in places chosen for him by his family. It's a choice I've never had to make myself.

It was great to see many of people like Kam, Teddy Chan,Raman Hui and other people who are only names in film credits as people.

I really liked this film. Its a great little film that raises some interesting questions and manages to make a mythic place and and some of the people who live there something more real.

Available on DVD and on You Tube.

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