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Bye-Bye, HKIFF. Hello, Far East Film.

Again, it’s been a while. Chow Pak-Ho wears the message that I wish to share:

Sorry I’m Late
I know one person who owns this shirt,
and about seventy-five people who should wear it.

Welcome to your regularly scheduled bi-weekly Damn You, Kozo! blog post. As usual, I’d like to thank Apple Daily for supplying all our photos. Frankly, they’re the greatest newspaper in the history of time EVER.

Kelly Chen’s facial expression shows her appreciation of my sarcasm:

Kelly in armor again
“Do you have to be such a prick?”

On to the actual subject here: Man, I’m beat.

The Hong Kong International Film Festival has finally ended the majority of its program, and I have zero screenings left to attend. I saw some good films and some bad films at the fest. Most will be showing up on as reviews, but there will likely be a few that I don’t touch. One film in particular I don’t wish to review because I was so unimpressed with it that even writing about it makes me sad. Also, despite the general perception that I’m picky and mean, I find negative opinion tiring and sometimes more damaging than saying nothing at all. So…at least one film won’t get reviewed.

Shawn Yue is down with that:

Shawn Yue
“Man, that’s awesome! I’ve so got the munchies.”

I also won’t be reviewing another film, Coffee or Tea, until its official theatrical release because the fest screening had a temp music track that I found egregiously overblown. As a result of its completely overwrought music score, my perception of the entire film was probably affected. I would prefer to wait a few months until its finalized before I pass judgment on whether or not I liked it.

Also, I got ill during the fest and missed three films, including a couple I was really looking forward to. Those films were the award-winning Home Song Stories, and quite sadly, the Lawrence Lau duo City Without Baseball and Besieged City. I’ll have to check them out later, but my attempt to be timely has failed miserably.

I did drag myself out of bed those days to check out a few films that I really wanted to see, including Sylvia Chang’s Run Papa Run, but thanks to my lack of complete recovery, I ended up with a five-to-seven day period of sluggishness and discomfort I fondly refer to as “Hell in March”. As a result of the sick days my work fell way behind, my review writing fell way behind, and this blog - which occupies a lower rung on the importance ladder than everything else in my life - fell totally behind.

So yeah, I’m tired. This is what I look like now:

Cute Baby
Permanent ink is a real killjoy

Film Festivals are tiring - and potentially dangerous to my health - but I have to say that I really enjoy them. Prior to coming to Hong Kong, I was never really partial to film fests, but after attending a few here, I’ve changed my mind. I now like film festivals so much, that I simply can’t go a whole month without a new one.

As a result, I’ll be off to another film festival at the end of the week, the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, where I’ll get to see one of Johnnie To’s new PTU television movies, plus The Sparrow, and a bunch of other Asian films that I look forward to checking out. I’m not sure why I’ve decided to go film-fest-o-rama with my life, but hey, that’s where the wind is taking me right now: to Italy, and far away from Hong Kong’s increasingly muggy weather.

As far as is concerned, all this rampant movie-watching means that I should probably institute a 600-words-or-less limit when writing future reviews because my potential review backlog will likely number twenty or more films. The other option is to turn off that portion of my brain, not review anything, and just act like your average paying audience member. It could make me happier. Like this man:

Andy Lau laughs
Andy Lau is thinking of the poor people
who paid to see All About Love.

Also, during my time in Italy, I will be completely unwired. I don’t have a working wi-fi laptop, and I don’t intend to queue for public workstations so it’s entirely possible that I won’t be checking out this site, this blog, or the entire damn Internet for close to a week. Once I return from Italy, I’ll have a whole slew of Hong Kong movies to catch up on reviewing, including the sequel to Barbara Wong’s Truth or Dare, plus the new Wong Jing spectacular My Wife is a Gambling Maestro. There’s also that Jet Li/Jackie Chan debacle movie, The Forbidden Kingdom, to check out.

Considering the above, this may be the only time I update Damn You, Kozo! in April. I would say that’s sad, but anyway, most of the stuff that appears on blogs is extraneous and unnecessary, so we can think of this month as simply “cutting the fat” from this website and the World Wide Web at large. I’m happy to do my part to slim down the Internet. We should get an award for Bandwidth Conservation.

These guys are also enthused:

Ekin and Leon
“We support your decision to conserve bandwidth!
Please stop this website and blog immediately!”

No problem. I’ll get right on it.

15 Responses to “Bye-Bye, HKIFF. Hello, Far East Film.”

  1. glenn Says:

    I’m dying to know which film left you so unimpressed that you aren’t going to even review it (that in itself is kind of a review).

    And you are a lucky man to get to see not only the PTU TV series but The Sparrow as well.

    Please review both for us!

    Now that I’ve seen Magic Boy I understand your antipathy/hostility for The Drummer. Magic Boy was effortless and unassuming where The Drummer was forced and obvious. Yes, I’d say that Magic Boy probably had a few too many music montages but I still enjoyed it as much as anything non-To related from Hong Kong in the past year.

  2. eliza bennet Says:

    Have a great time in Udine, and let us know what you think later on ok?

  3. Billy Says:

    Yeah, please tell us what movie was so bad that you didnt even want to talk about it. BTY, its a pity you missed Home Song Stories. It is a GREAT movie. I would recommend that you check it out. actually, the dvd is out so if you really want to see it you can buy either the singapore or australia edition of the dvd.

  4. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    I’m very excited about seeing Sparrow and the PTU film - I believe this installment was directed by Lawrence Lau. Lau Ching-Wan, Kelly Lin, and Lam Suet are all supposed to be there, so it should be fun.

    Glenn, I’m glad you enjoyed Magic Boy. I’m sure many people will skip it, but it was one of the more surprising and enjoyable Hong Kong movies I saw last year. It had an energy and spontaneity that won me over, plus a unique Hong Kong character that doesn’t play to stereotypes of Asian culture (unlike, er, The Drummer).

    Billy, I’ll try to catch Home Song Stories when I can, and Eliza, thanks for the message. I will let people know of my experience in Italy.

    About the movie that I didn’t like, people can probably figure it out through process of elimination, i.e., if I review a film, then that obviously is not the movie in question. It’s actually not a film that I would like to say anything bad about, because its resources were small, and the people behind it had good intentions. Out of respect, I’ll just shut my trap.

  5. MW Says:

    I’m just glad Sparrow will actually be seen by people. Seems like it has been in production forever. Have fun in Italy!

  6. wakawaka Says:

    wow…what job do you actually have at yesasia? Can I join? and also have time to go to HKIFF and Udine?

    Also, I was wondering, maybe when you have time, can you separate commercial fluff to more artsy/independent pieces that you recommend? it’d be really nice to discover another side of hong kong cinema.

  7. Gabriel Says:

    Wow, according to the festival site, a whole bunch of Milkyway luminaries will be there on 26 April. It’ll be an experience all right.

  8. Gabriel Says:

    Out of interest, how are you getting to Udine and where will you be staying? It seems a pretty small place.

  9. MW Says:

    yea, is YesAsia sending you out as a reporter to Italy? that would be awesome to get paid to see films, you’re almost a full fledged film critic! Like Ebert!

  10. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    My job at YesAsia is nominally to oversee all English language content on the site. In reality, it’s somewhat different than that description - and that’s probably all I can say about it. It would be great if I did get paid to watch movies, but that’s not what YesAsia does. The most obvious benefit I get from the job is a Work Visa to stay in Hong Kong. Other than that, I consider the job a large learning experience.

    My trip to Italy is more personal than business. I do have some work interest in going, but mostly it’s for myself, and because I made a minor contribution to their fest catalog. In my adult life, I have never been directly paid for any of my film review work. I once got $40 a review from the San Jose Mercury News, but that was when I was a “Teen Reviewer”. I think that was back in the seventies or something.

    Hi gabriel, I’ll be flying to Udine. The fest organizers are arranging the hotel for me. Other than that, I’m sort of in the dark.

    Hi wakawaka, I’m not sure I understand your request. Are you asking if I can separate my recommendations into genre? Like recommended commercial films versus smaller pictures? I guess that would be a good topic for this blog. I’m starting to run out of material anyway. Time to bring back the Edison Chen jokes.

  11. Munin Says:

    I think the first PTU installment is actually by Law Wing Cheong, but I can’t wait to see what Lawrence Lau does with the whole thing.

  12. shaw Says:

    Kozo should be at Udine right now.

    The first installment of PTU - TV series is indeed directed by Law Wing-cheong, as presented on the Udine FEFF website. That site also has a very short review of this PTU.

  13. V Says:

    Hi Kozo, Hope you’re having fun at Udine. Also hope that you have lots of cool experiences there. Waiting to hear about your time at Udine.

  14. MW Says:

    Think Kozo’s next blog should be a photo blog from Udine, instead of funny blog with funny pictures.

  15. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Whoops, it is Law Wing-Cheong directing this one. Haven’t seen it yet, but once I do I’ll add it to the review queue, which runs maybe 15 films long. I may have to give up on some of these.

    Udine is fun, but my photo blog will probably have to consist of pictures of food, because that’s what been taking pictures of. It’s more exiting than the actual films.

    I hope to one day post again on this blog.

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