It has been a long time since my last film reflection “3 idiots” . This post is about the movie named “I love Hong Kong” – 我爱HK – 开心万岁。There are two versions of I love Hong Kong produced in 2011 and 2012 with nearly the same casting, however, I prefer the I love Hong Kong 2011, the first version for its simple lessons conveyed in the movie. The movie is a collage of small stories of people living in public apartment built by the government for poor people since the 1950s. The main screen-story was represented through the perspective of Ng Shun – one used to live in the public house when he was young, moving out to much more convenient and modern house and then coming back to the public apartment when his family was out of money. By making Ng Shun recount all the memories of living in the public apartment in the late 1980s and putting all the events in the past in parallel with the events at the present, audiences could easily draw out the comparison between the past and the present, figuring out the changes that take place in the life of these people in particular and in Hong Kong society in general. Time changes, things have to change in both positive and negative ways but there still exist thing that unchanged and it is unchanged value that help connecting the past and the present, creating link between generations.
As other film reflections, I will not try to make reviews on the performance of actors or actresses but I would try to analyze the screen-story, from which lessons or valuable things to be drawn out. I will divide my reflection into three main parts: Things that change, things that unchanged and other details in the movie that I find interesting.
1. Things that change
In such kind of movie, the things that change often cause much more annoyances to audiences, especially to people whom feel nostalgic for the past. Right from the beginning of the movie, director has put lots of trivial stories happening to each family member of Ng Shun to quickly capture the current life of Hong Kong people. Ng Shun got into trouble with the guardian of the apartment due to his parking at wrong place. Ng Shun’s wife quarreled with the service girl at a food stall because of the inconsistency between advertising and the real sold goods. Ng Shun’s daughter, Ng Chi could not stand out of other models because she did not agree to wear sexual appealing clothes. Ng Shun’s son, Ng Ming, together with his colleague at police station, confiscated the goods of street vendors. Ng Ming’s girlfriend, Lee Kei, was reprimanded by the director of learning center for the decreasing number of students registering for her class (while a class of an appealing teacher still has lots of students registering for as this teacher is in relationship with an officer in Minister of Education). Lots of disappointing stories were presented on the screen in humorous ways, reflecting the current society in not only Hong Kong but also other Asian countries. People tend to be more material than they were in the past. They can do everything with a view to maximizing profits without caring about the impacts on others. Ng Shun’s wife was made to advertise cosmetic surgery or functional foods that help reducing weight to thin and young girls even when she knew that it does no good to these girls. People tend to be more indifferent to other people than they were in the past. When Ng Shun’s wife was hit by Wayne Lai in the film studio, there was no one helping her stand up after that.
2. Things that stay unchanged
In such kind of movies, the things that are unchanged originate from the traditional or down home values. Notably, there are three things that are key values promoted in the movie: Family value, neighborhood relationship, and personal loyalty.
– Family value: Family value is still appreciated even in the midst of economic crisis taking place. Family value is presented in many details in the movie, even the smallest ones like the cozy atmosphere in a family dinner, the worry of Ng Shun over the stories of Ng Chi and her “so-called” boyfriend, or the commitment of Ng Shun’s wife to the family. Family value is highly manifested when all Ng Shun’s family members joined hands together to sell toys in the street. It should be one of the most favorite scenes in the movie.
– Neighborhood: It should be a critical value that is described in the movie. And it should be a unique point that helps differentiate I love Hong Kong 2011 from other movies of the same kind. This intention of director has been clearly reflected when he decided to put the settings of the movie in an apartment of old style. The close connection of neighbors in this apartment is thing that remain unchanged during the course of 25 years. The highest manifestation of neighborhood could be seen in similar circumstances happening at the beginning and in the end of the movie when everyone in the apartment offered helps to their neighbors who are about to give birth. The later one seems to assemble the scene in famous Indian movie “3 idiots” but it is fine to me as the purpose of these two scenes are totally different.
– Personal loyalty: Mr. Dragon Cheng should be the best manifestation of personal loyalty (义气) in the movie. He sacrificed his own honor to help guarantee the honor of So Ching (Ng Shun’s first lover) and he did not mind being misunderstood. He may spend his own money to support the project that promotes the development of small private business in apartment.
3. Interesting details
As it is a comedy, all the lessons in the movie are brought in such a humorous way without losing their meanings. There are some specific details that make me interested in the movie:
– The old Hong Kong was quickly demonstrated in the flash back at the beginning of the movie on the famous song: Da Qiao Ying Xiong Zhuan 打雀英雄傳. In this flash back, we could see some typical characteristics of Hong Kong like betting games (sorry I do not catch its English name), old apartment buildings, traditional markets, etc. Whenever I thought about Hong Kong, skyscrapers with world largest financial institutions are always the first images topping up in my mind. However, this movie has brought me with totally new image of Hong Kong and it has instilled more desires of mine to travel to Hong Kong in the near future.
– The presence of modern equipment is also portrayed in the movie, though it is not mentioned as the key driving force behind all changes taking place in the movie. It is, as a objective and inevitable change of the society, unlike the above-mentioned changes coming from people, therefore, it is kind of neutral impacts. I cannot help laughing when Dragon Cheng explained all these Facebook and Twitter stuff to Ng Shun =)) OMG, I kinda love his Cantonese accent when he spoke “in a relationship but it’s complicated”.
There are other funny details in the movie and I highly recommend this movie for everyone seeking for meaningful lessons conveyed through humorous stories. It is also great to watch the movie with your family and find the similarity of traditional values shared among Asian people.