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… On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life.

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather.

Archive for the ‘Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah’ Category

Kozo Entertainment Group Presents: LOVE FOR HIRE

A little business to conduct before we get to the holiday festivities:  My 12-year “artistes” contract with the Kozo Entertainment Group obligates me to remind you that voting is underway for the “Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s”.  Go here for details.

With Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day, it’s the perfect time to release the Kozo Entertainment Group’s first feature film.  It’s a holiday release called LOVE FOR HIRE.  I got the idea for the movie after reading news articles about demographically-challenged Mainland males “renting” girlfriends to bring back home for Lunar New Year gatherings.  Being a fan of LAW & ORDER for close to twenty years, ripping a story from the headlines came naturally.  After running it up the flagpole to my superiors at the KEG, we got some funding from The Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Consider this our “red packet”/valentine to you …

* * * * *

LOVE FOR HIRE:

A romantic comedy/drama about the lives and loves of people who work at an agency that provides fake girlfriends to guys who need someone on their arm for a social occasion.  The movie has two main plots:

Chrissie Chau

MAIN PLOT A:  Normal but shy guy hires a girl to practice social situations with (asking her out, going on dates, etc.) because he’s in love with a hot girl in his office.

Normal/shy Guy: Jaycee Chan (Fong Cho-Ming)
Girl For Hire: Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin
Hot Office Girl: Chrissie Chau Sau-Na

Due to his shyness, Jaycee has never dated a girl before so he wants to work out all the kinks of dating with Charlene before asking Chrissie out.  Naturally, over the course of a few practice dates, Jaycee falls in love with Charlene but, because she’s only doing this to make a few dollars for a plane ticket to see her boyfriend who’s studying in Australia, he doesn’t want to admit his love — even though it’s clear she loves him back.  He ends up going through with asking Chrissie out.

On his date with Chrissie, Jaycee realizes that he has to profess his love for Charlene so he races to the airport to stop her from getting on the plane to see her boyfriend for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Thus satisfying the romantic movie commandment of always having a scene where one of the main characters is racing somewhere to declare their love for someone.)

MAIN PLOT B:  Widower needs to hire a fake girlfriend because his parents are flying in from Canada to visit him and his cute kid for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Widower: Andy Lau Tak-Wah
Agency Owner: Michelle Reis

As Andy’s wife has been dead for four years, his parents have been on his back to get a new woman in his life and the life of their grandchild.  He wants to get them off of his back so he goes to the agency to hire a woman for a Lunar New Year “performance”.  He has a specific type of woman in mind so he asks to meet directly with the agency owner to pick out the right girl to play the part.

Andy and the agency owner end up meeting several times because they can’t agree on the right girl for the job.  During these meetings, Andy begins to admire Michelle for her work ethic and professionalism while Michelle begins to admire Andy for his dedication to his kid, his parents and, most touchingly, his late wife (ie. I’m still in love with her, I’m not ready to find another woman).

Since Michelle knows exactly what Andy is looking for, she decides to take the job herself and, during their “show” for Andy’s parents, Andy and Michelle end up falling in love.

Besides the two main plots, the film also has three mini-plots that fill out the movie:

MINI-PLOT A:  The Assistants

Agency Owner’s Assistant: Stephy Tang Lai-Yan
Tycoon’s Assistant: Ronald Cheng Chung-Gei
Obnoxious Tycoon: Jim Chim Sui-Man

Stephy has been working with Ronald because Ronald’s boss (Jim Chim) is an obnoxious jerk of a tycoon who has been hiring arm candy to get photographed with in the tabloids.  As the tycoon has been doing this for months, Stephy and Ronald have been talking to each other over the phone for a while.  Through casual bits of conversation between making arrangements for the tycoon, Ronald starts to wonder what it’d be like to date Stephy while Stephy begins to imagine what it would be like to have Ronald as a boyfriend.  Obviously, there’s mutual interest but, since they just have a professional phone relationship, neither has acted on it.  One day, they happen to be in the same Starbucks and when they hear each other order, they realize who the other is and it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Donnie Yen

MINI-PLOT B: Husbands and Wives

Husband: Eric Kot Man-Fai
Wife: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah
Businessman: Donnie Yen (looking to show his skillz in a non-action role)
Businessman’s wife: Lynn Xiong (because she’s Mrs. Ip Man)

A businessman (Donnie Yen) needs to hire a companion to sit in with him for business meetings.  He wants to avoid all-night negotiation sessions that are actually just excuses for the other business guys to do heavy drinking.  So, he hires a “wife” (Miriam Yeung) as an excuse to get business done quickly or to bail out of booze-soaked all-nighters.  Sometimes Miriam goes with Donnie to the meetings, sometimes she calls on the phone to interrupt, sometimes she shows up to interrupt.

Donnie has been working with Miriam for months and everything is strictly platonic.  However, Miriam’s husband (Eric Kot) is jealous that she’s spending all this time with Donnie.  Things come to a head when Donnie invites Miriam over to his flat for Lunar New Year dinner.  Eric is blind with jealousy and goes to the dinner with a chip on his shoulder.  When they arrive at Donnie’s place, both Miriam and Eric are surprised to find that Donnie has a wife and two young daughters.  When Donnie’s wife (Lynn Xiong), thanks Miriam for helping Donnie come home at night to be with his kids, Eric realizes the foolishness of his jealousy.

MINI-PLOT C: The Ex-Con

The Ex-Con: Nick Cheung Ka-Fai
The “Mainland” Girl: Vicki Zhao Wei

A guy (Nick Cheung) hires a “Mainland” girlfriend to bring home to his parents for Lunar New Year.  He’s been telling his parents that he’s been away “on business” in the Mainland for the past three years but, in actually, he’s been rotting in jail after being framed by a former friend for a crime he did not commit.

Vicki Zhao misses her own family back in China so she feels kind of sad to see this sham of a Lunar New Year gathering.  Nick Cheung feels the emptiness as well.  After the dinner, Vicki Zhao tells Nick Cheung to be straight with his parents, she points out that they may be more understanding than Nick Cheung thinks.  This story ends with Nick Cheung coming clean and truly reconciling with his family.

* * * * *

I think that’s enough plot for a 90 to 120 minute movie.  What do you think?  Even with stiff competition from 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY and ALL’S WELL THAT END’S WELL 2010,  this makes HK$10 million - no?

Now, as the late-Michael Jackson said repeatedly in THIS IS IT, I wrote this story out of “love” for the readers who have been reading my nonsense over the years.  As I said earlier, it was my “red packet”/valentine to the readers.  It’ll be upsetting if some knock off, possibly called LOVE FOR RENT, pops up in the Lunar New Year 2011 movie slate.  It’ll be especially upsetting if the knock off includes stories about a shy guy, a widower, a jealous husband, an obnoxious tycoon, assistants and an ex-con.  Not only will it upset me, it’ll upset the mighty KEG, the Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Most people know better than to upset the CPC - especially in China. ;-)

To avoid all the nastiness, get in touch with me.  My demands may be as simple as a cameo role as one of the business guys at a Donnie Yen business meeting or the barista who hands Stephy Tang her latte at Starbucks.

All right … time for the traditional House Where Words Gather Lunar New Year greeting.  As you can tell from years past (Ox, Rat), my wishes for all of you are less grandiose than unimaginable wealth.  Sticking with that tradition, I’m going to channel Dan Rather and Al Pacino by wishing you:

Greeting for the Year of the Tiger

I’m hoping that the Year of the Tiger gives you courage to make improvements in your life.  May you find the courage to inch your way towards greater happiness be it finding the guts to ask that cute girl out, the courage to find a better job or the cojones to change an unhappy circumstance in your life.

And, as always, 身體健康!  Happy Year of the Tiger!

The Teahouse: June 3rd, 2009

A reader interaction post today as I respond to some of the comments left on the blog.  But first, some box office numbers:

Like theatres here in North America, theatres in Hong Kong are jammed with the likes of ANGELS & DEMONS, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 and TERMINATOR: SALVATION leaving little room for Asian films.  Here is the top ten in Hong Kong from this past weekend:

  1. NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2
  2. TERMINATOR: SALVATION
  3. ANGELS & DEMONS
  4. ASHES OF TIME REDUX, 26 screens, 4 days, $850,028 to date
  5. A FROZEN FLOWER
  6. CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, 9 screens, 25 days, HK$3.74 million to date
  7. 17 AGAIN
  8. OUTLANDER
  9. NIGHT AND FOG, 1 screen, 18 days, HK$1.15 million to date
  10. CORALINE

I CORRUPT ALL COPS and TRAIL OF THE PANDA have concluded their theatrical runs.  They finished with takes of HK$5.34 milion and HK$1.42 million respectively.

* * * * *

Before we get to reader comments, a few words about the Edison Chen comeback:

It’s clear with his CNN interview and WestEast magazine cover that Edison Chen is on the comeback trail.  He wasn’t “forced” to come back to HK, he chose to come back.  If you don’t want to see him darken the door of the entertainment circle, don’t attack him for “breaking his word” about retiring.  After all, you’d be the foolish one if you took a man of his deeds at his word.  Look at where taking Edison Chen at his word left Cecilia Cheung and Gillian Chung …

If you want him out of the entertainment circle, here’s what you do:

  • Don’t watch his CNN interview.
  • Don’t buy any magazines with him on the cover.
  • Don’t buy anything from his clothing line.
  • Don’t buy his albums.
  • Don’t go to his movies.
  • Don’t support any projects that has a connection to him.

If enough people did that, you’d be surprised how quickly he disappears from the entertainment circle.  However, if the hits for the SNIPER review here on LoveHKFilm are any indication, there’s still some juice left in EDC so maybe he’ll be with us for a while yet.  By all logic and reason, his career should be dead as a doornail but, as Teddy KGB would say, here he is “hanging around, hang-ing around … can’t get rid of him.”

John Malkovich as Teddy KGB in ROUNDERS

Related Link: CNN EXCLUSIVE: Edison Chen breaks his silence

More EDC:

On to your comments …

From the comments on Production News: Sammi vs Miriam Lunar New Year 2010:

glenn writes:  When I first heard this news, I was quite excited. Now I’m wondering if the acting styles of these two ladies may not mesh completely.

Yes, the betting line for the Kozo Entertainment Group’s illegal but high-class Tsimshatsui gambling den pegs this movie as having a 50% chance of sucking and a 50% of being good.  It was set at 80% suck and 20% good but Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai are involved so the odds of it being good have gone up considerably.

I’m with you Glenn, I don’t know what the chemistry is going to be like between the original Mrs. Kozo and Miriam Yeung.  The papers are already filled with stories about how Sammi hates Miriam and Miriam hates Sammi and how Andy is feuding with Leon and Leon is feuding with Andy.  If Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai are smart, I think they would run parallel story lines where the two main couples interact only briefly … sort of like the first De Niro-Pacino collaboration HEAT.

I think I’ve seen enough of these highly-anticipated collaborations (THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, RIGHTEOUS KILL, ALIEN VS PREDATOR … DEBBIE DOES JENNA …) to know that they never live up to expectations.  I’m going in with an attitude of: “hey, it’s Lunar New Year, all I want from the movie is for it to be light, breezy and fun.  What I don’t want is for it to turn out to be one of those soulless commercial enterprises where everyone is just going through the motions.”

From the comments on News and Notes: May 14th, 2009:

Bunta Sugawara writes:  Any idea when Vengeance is released in HK? (I’m doing some mental arithmetic to work out when I’m likely to get my grubby paws on a DVD release of it - it sounds great).

I haven’t been able to find a definite date.  Articles that popped up last year covering the news conference announcing the project had a Summer 2010 HK release pegged but nothing specific was reported.  Here’s the link to the official English-language website for VENGEANCE, when there’s a fixed date, I’m sure it’ll be listed there:

From the comments on News Links: Memorial Day 2009:

Dave Leong writes:  Did you watch end up watching American Masters last night?

Nope, I haven’t watched AMERICAN MASTERS: HOLLYWOOD CHINESE yet.  I have recorded it though.  I’m a huge sports fan so my nights have been filled with both NBA and NHL playoffs.  Plus, the UEFA Champions League Final was on the same day as the documentary.  I’ll get to it someday because it sounds very interesting.

Will writes:  Why aren’t you on Twitter?

I’m not on Twitter because I sold my soul to the Kozo Entertainment Group and can’t write for any other media.  Me and Charlene Choi, caged birds for our respective media conglomerates …

Just kidding, I’m not on Twitter because it seems like a fad that’s destined to go the way of Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchi … Twins.

Plus, I’m a blowhard so I can’t limit myself to just 140 characters.

… And, as always, I’m a lazy, lazy man.

Audrey writes:  I’m happy Kozo still keeps lovehkfilm going even though he rubs elbows with Nick Cheung and Karena Lam. 

LoveHKFilm may still be going strong but Kozo’s definitely changed now that he’s hanging out with the cool kids.  He’s become insufferable.  He’s affected a Madonna-like faux British accent going on about how I need to use “my loaf” and how he has to go up the “apples and pears” to get away from his new “trouble and strife”.  It’s sickening … sickening I tell ya.

I’m just kidding.  Kozo is one of the sweetest guys you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet.  We kid because we love.  Speaking of which …

From the comments on News Links: May 30th, 2009:

langong writes:  Are you sure it was the photo of S and not “K” you were compiling posts in front of? 

You caught me, you caught me.  I confess that I’m compiling posts in front of a photo of Kozo.  I wish I knew how to quit him … I really wish I knew how to quit him … :-)

BECAUSE I’M NOT ON TWITTER:

- For film fans:  NPR has a two-part podcast about the Cannes Film Festival with critic John Powers.  Interesting stuff if you want to hear about the films that made a splash at Cannes.  In part two, Powers has some kind words for Park Chan-Wook’s THIRST and some not so kind words for Ang Lee and TAKING WOODSTOCK.  Here are the links:

- More from NPR: A podcast review of the Oscar-winning Japanese film DEPARTURES (LoveHKFilm review):

- Does Hiroyuki Sanada have it written in his contract that his characters have to die?  I watched another Sanada film over the weekend — won’t mention which one to avoid spoiling anybody –  and, quelle surprise, his character died.  That’s five Sanada films in a row for me in which his character does not make it to the end credits.

Image credit: Miramax Films (Teddy KGB)

Production News: Sammi vs Miriam Lunar New Year 2010

When Alien got together with Predator back in 2004, it didn’t matter who won because we all lost (even in ways the filmmakers probably did not intend).  Now, five years later, a pairing almost as epic is going to be made as reports have surfaced suggesting that Sammi Cheng Sau-Man and Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah are joining forces with Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai for a Lunar New Year picture that will hit the screens in time for holiday season 2010.  Hopefully, this time HK entertainment fans will all win.

Late last week, HK media reports emerged suggesting that Media Asia has been looking to put together a Lunar New Year film after seeing the success that Mandarin Films had with ALL’S WELL ENDS WELL 2009 (HK$24.6 million).  Reportedly, after some urging from entertainment mogul Peter Lam Kin-Ngok, Johnnie To Kei-Fung and Wai Ka-Fai have agreed to shoot a holiday picture starring Sammi Cheng, Miriam Yeung, Andy Lau Tak-Wah and Leon Lai Ming.  It will be the first Lunar New Film from To and Wai since 2002’s FAT CHOI SPIRIT.  According to the reports, the film will be a romantic comedy and shooting is set to begin in September.

Both Media Asia and Wai Ka-Fai have confirmed that a Lunar New Year project is in the works but no other details have been released:

Media Asia spokesperson Ms. Leung: “The company will indeed be shooting a Lunar New Year movie this September.”

Wai Ka-Fai: “Yes, we’ll be doing this movie. Right now, we’re working on a script. There’s not much that we can make public at this point.”

The Sammi Cheng-Miriam Yeung Media Asia project will be competing with Mandarin’s ALL’S WELL ENDS WELL 2010 starring Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu and Ronald Cheng Chung-Gei.

Related Chinese-language media articles: 1, 2, 3

Thoughts on HOOKED ON YOU

hooked_1.jpg

I’m ready to share some thoughts on HOOKED ON YOU now that I’m back home after a trip to the St. Annie Cake Shop where I redeemed my cake coupons before the store went out of business.

HOOKED ON YOU
每當變幻時

Official Site: http://www.hookedonyouthemovie.com/
Director: Law Wing-Cheong
Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah (Miu), Eason Chan Yik-Shun (Fishman), Stanley Fung Tsui-Fan (Miu’s Father)

Synopsis (from Yahoo! Movies Singapore): Miu (Miriam Yeung) works as a fishmonger at the Fortune Market to pay off the debts of her father (Stanley Fung). She gives herself three years to settle her father’s debts, leave the wet market and find a man worthy of her. At the market, however, she finds herself at loggerheads with Fishman (Eason Chan) in the neighbouring stall. A fierce battle ensues but the two are forced to work together when a new supermarket threatens their business at the Fortune Market. Will Miu find her Mr Right, or is he a figment of her imagination?

PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS: I can’t imagine myself disliking this movie. The always reliable Johnnie To is the producer and it stars Miriam Yeung and Eason Chan — two very affable personalities that I’ve liked for years. It’s not an elaborate martial-arts costume epic engineered for the international market or an art film designed to appeal only to film sophisticates. There’s no way this film can turn out to be a stinker — right? The probability of Athena Chu Yan showing up at my front door in a short skirt and a long jacket has got to be higher than the probability of me sitting on my couch disappointed and angry after watching this movie.

AFTER THE MOVIE: As I hoped, HOOKED ON YOU did not disappoint. While a few cheesy elements and some overplayed scenes keep it from being a masterpiece, the movie is thoroughly entertaining and exquisitely captures the bittersweet sentiments of the 1970s classic Cantopop song (”When Change Occurs”) that it bases its Chinese title upon (see below). For the most part, it manages to maintain the delicate balance between being entertaining and being thought-provoking. As a result, it should please both the “artsy” crowd looking for insight and the “fartsy” crowd who just want a good time at the movies.

MORE THOUGHTS (WARNING: Contains spoilers): To me, the most remarkable aspect of HOOKED ON YOU is that it takes what is basically the setup for a disposable light-comedy TVB drama and manages to subtly deliver astute observations about the bittersweet nature of life. The effective incorporation of benchmark events from the ten years of Hong Kong history since the Handover help to highlight the theme that time passes, changes occur, there will be ups, there will be downs, you’ll win some and you’ll lose some so all you can do is move forward and not dwell too much on the past, just cherish the good times and remember the bad times. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this result because I was expecting a regular, good-ol’ romantic comedy — a well-made one — but routine nonetheless. I envisioned myself sitting on the couch and going “awww, what a nice love story” as I was switched off my DVD player. I was not expecting to be dazzled by philosophical insight.

hooked_5.jpg

I’m certain that the “when changes occur” message refers not just to an individual’s life but extends to Hong Kong as well. Clearly, Fortune Market is a metaphor for the Fragrant Harbour. As I don’t live there anymore, I don’t have any sort of feel for day-to-day life in Hong Kong. Therefore, I’m not going to embarrass myself by attempting to explain how the film’s message applies to Hong Kong. I do recognize that it’s there and I’m sure that it resonates somehow with the local audience.

While its philosophical accomplishments are impressive, there are flaws in HOOKED ON YOU that make it just miss the mark of being a pantheon Hong Kong film. The TVB-style setup at the beginning robs the film of a bit of the gravitas required for pantheon status. The Fishman character starts out as a caricature. Miu’s character, and her hard-luck story, come straight out of the TVB drama writer’s handbook. You also have the loveable but irresponsible parent and the local dai lo. I’m not knocking TVB and its dramas. Of the three major forms of HK entertainment: movies, TV serials and Cantopop, TV serials — especially the ones by TVB — are my favourite. If I was an emperor, then TV serials would be my empress while movies and Cantopop would be consorts that I occasionally hang around with. I’m just saying that the low-brow setup and thin characterizations rob HOOKED ON YOU of some credibility preventing it, just barely, from being thought of as a great film. It’s very good and I’ll remember it fondly but I wouldn’t categorize it as a classic.

ping_faan1.gif

Speaking of TVB, I’m sure that a graduate student in sociology can find plenty of material for a thesis if they look at TVB and Hong Kong society. While jotting down a few thoughts for this post after I put the DVD away, I couldn’t help thinking of HOPE FOR SALE (街市的童話) — a 2001 TVB drama starring Gallen Lo Ka-Leung, Christine Ng Wing-Mei and Melissa Ng Mei-Hang. In the series, Gallen Lo plays a vegetable-seller who enjoys his simple life working at the wet market while Melissa Ng plays his materialistic wife. She pushes him to “better” himself and leave the market.

If HOOKED ON YOU was a TVB drama, it would have had a much different outcome. Fishman and the way he clutches to the wet market lifestyle would be seen as virtuous while Miu’s quest to leave the wet market would be vilified as materialistic and vain. HOOKED ON YOU’s nuanced message would be replaced by the standard message from TVB dramas: 平凡是福 (ping faan si fuk or “a common life is a blessing”). As TVB is in the ratings business, it has to make product that appeals to its audience so, clearly, something about the “common life is a blessing” theme appeals to Hong Kong society. Like I said, there’s a thesis in there somewhere.

MISCELLANEA:

hooked_2.jpg

- I’m not a PETA supporter but I definitely felt bad for the eel that Miriam Yeung chops up at the beginning of the movie. Having watched Hiroyuki Sakai and Masaharu Moritomo slice up eels in IRON CHEF episodes, I thought I was de-sensitized to live eel killing but it looked to me that Miriam Yeung didn’t chop her eel all the way through. It must have been in agony as Yeung slid it into that plastic bag. Poor eel.

Jo Koo in VISIBLE SECRET 2- Jo Koo, where are you? Right now, if I could have an entertainment circle girlfriend, I think that it’d be Jo Koo (Kuk Tso-Lam). So, it pains me to say that I was surprised when I saw her name in the credits because I didn’t spot her in the movie. Does anyone know who she played?

Yes, if I could have an entertainment circle girlfriend it’d be Jo Koo and if I were a rich man, ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum. All day long I’d biddy biddy bum. If I were a wealthy man.

- Hey, it’s interesting to me! Scanning the credits, I was intrigued by the name Marie Zhuge (諸葛梓岐). Having probably spent months of my life playing various video and computer games based on ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS, I wonder if Marie Zhuge is a descendant of the legendary Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮). A Google search yields no pictures but reveals that she is a Canadian (Yeah! Fellow Canadian!) and that she belongs to the same modeling agency as Kathy Chow Man-Kei and Qi Qi. I figure she must be Fishman’s favourite prostitute, Fishman’s wife or the girl who bugs Miu about her age. Anyone know?

hooked_4.jpg

- Speaking of the girl who bugs Miu about her age, I liked the way the film used her to help mark the passage of time and advance Miu’s storyline. She started as a young woman cooking dinner for the first time for her boyfriend and ended up as a married woman with child. Anyone know who plays girl who buys Miu about her age?

hooked_6.jpg

- Funny, but the last definition of “miss” — the courtesy title before the name of an unmarried woman or a girl — never occurred to me until I read the intertitle. Perhaps it would have had my “mind voice” pronounced it HK-style: “misseee”. ;-)

Cover art from a Fanny Greatest Hits albumABOUT THE SONG: HOOKED ON YOU gets its Chinese title from 每當變幻時 (”When Changes Occur”), the hit Cantopop song from 1977 sung by Fanny (薰妮 aka Fun Nei aka Fanny Wong). As you can tell from the following translation of the song lyrics, the movie does a good job of capturing the bittersweet sentiments of the song.

A quick disclaimer, I am not an English major so pardon me if my rudimentary translation does not do proper justice to the Chinese lyrics of Jim Lo Kwok-Tsim (盧國沾). Nevertheless, I think you can get a sense of how well the movie plays upon the song’s message. For your information, the song starts playing at around 1:32:20 of the film.

Lyrics for 每當變幻時

Thanks to a box of tapes that belonged to my late Uncle Kwok-Hung and a mp3 file from my cousin, I was able to listen to both the Fanny version and the Miriam Yeung version of the song. With all due respect to Miriam Yeung, I think the Fanny version is better. The arrangement and the vocal inflections of the 1977 version suit the wistful nature of the lyrics better than that of the 2007 version.

By the way, does anyone know why it’s virtually impossible to buy Cantopop songs on iTunes? I suspect that it probably has something to do with Hong Kong music companies not being able to adapt to the times. Don’t they realize that if they make things easy and cheap for consumers, most people will take the path of least resistance and buy the songs from a legal source like iTunes rather than waste time searching for illegal downloads on the Internet?

IMAGE CREDITS: Media Asia (HOOKED ON YOU screen captures, Jo Koo), Wing Hang CD Ltd. (Fanny Wong)

The 26th Hong Kong Film Awards

Updated at 10:52 pm

The 26th Hong Kong Film Awards were presented Sunday evening at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsimshatsui. AFTER THIS OUR EXILE was the big winner with five awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and Best New Performer). However, its lead actor, Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, was not able to capitalize on the film’s winning momentum as the favourite going into the evening was upset by crowd favourite Lau Ching-Wan (left). Lau, 43, won the Best Actor prize over Kwok for his performance in MY NAME IS FAME. A twenty-four year veteran of the entertainment circle, Lau finally broke his shutout in the Best Actor category after being nominated seven times previously for LOST IN TIME (2003), VICTIM (1999), THE LONGEST NITE (1997), FULL ALERT (1997), BIG BULLET (1996), C’EST LA VIE, MON CHERIE (1994) and THOU SHALT NOT SWEAR (1993). A thunderous round of applause erupted in the Cultural Centre when Lau’s name was announced. After shaking hands with fellow nominee Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lau made his way on to the stage and joked: “I hope I’m given a little more time. After all, I’ve waited so long.”

He went on to say: “I had a feeling I would win when I saw that the HKFAA (Hong Kong Film Awards Association) picked ‘passing the torch’ as its theme this year. Because of that, I knew the award would go to a youngster like me. I want to thank Brother Chau-Sang (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang), Brother Sing-Sing (Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing) and Brother Chiu-Wai (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai). I will take the torch and work hard.”

Related images:

Gong Li and her cleavage (right) won the Best Actress prize for their work in CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. Gong, who did not attend the ceremony, won her first Hong Kong Film Award after being nominated previously for her roles in A TERRACOTTA WARRIOR (1990) and TEMPTRESS MOON (1996). In a phone interview with Oriental Daily News, Gong said: “I’m very surprised. I didn’t think that I would win. I thank the HKFAA for giving me something that I’ve longed many years for. Although I’ve won many international awards, this is the first time I’ve won in Hong Kong. Every time I win an award, it has something to do with Zhang Yimou. He really brings me good luck. I have to clarify one thing: There are rumours that I didn’t go to the awards because I didn’t like the way the HKFA booked my accommodations. I want to let people know that I have a house in Hong Kong and don’t need to stay in a hotel. I didn’t make it to the awards because I’m working in America.”

AFTER THIS OUR EXILE was Patrick Tam Ka-Ming’s first directorial effort in sixteen years. His last film was 1989’s MY HEART IS THAT EXTERNAL ROSE. Accepting his directing award, Tam told the crowd: “Thank you to the HKFA for supporting me. I wish to thank the cast and crew as well as God for giving me such an excellent gift.”

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Tam was asked for his thoughts about the successful night for AFTER THIS OUR EXILE. Tam: “I can’t say getting all the awards was expected or unexpected because there was no way to predict but I feel disappointed for Sing-Sing (Aaron Kwok). He really did a lot for this film. However, awards aren’t our main goal. The main thing is for everyone to see the hard work we put into the movie.”

Eight year-old Gouw Ian Iskanda won two awards, Best Supporting Actor and Best New Performer, for his role in AFTER THIS OUR EXILE. He was the first actor to win both the new performer award and an acting award in the same year since Karena Lam Ka-Yan (JULY RHASPODY) did it five years ago. To the suprise of many, Iskanda beat out veterans Simon Yam Tat-Wah (ELECTION 2), Nick Cheung Ka-Fai (ELECTION 2) and Liu Ye (CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER) in the Best Supporting Actor category. Surprised himself, Iskanda had to be prompted to go on stage to collect his second award of the evening. Shellshocked, the child actor was at a loss for words and managed only to say: “I never thought I’d win twice … I learned a lot from making this film. I’m very happy. I’ll continue to work hard.”

More composed when speaking to reporters following the ceremony. Iskanda told reporters that he was looking forward to the spoils of victory. Iskanda: “I was going to get a reward of a Nintendo Wii and ten games for winning. Now that I’ve won twice, I think I should be getting twenty games.”

Asked if he was going to be an actor when he grows up, Iskanda replied that he wanted to be a “tennis player” instead.

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Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Tso) took home the award for Best New Director (THE HEAVENLY KINGS). He accepted the award with his Alive bandmates Conroy Chan Chi-Chung, Terence Yin (Wan Chi-Wai) and Andrew Lin Hoi because he views THE HEAVENLY KINGS as a group achievement rather than an individual one. Asked if winning the directing award means that he will focus more on directing rather than acting in the future, Wu said that he probably wouldn’t because he “feels more comfortable acting”. Related image (courtesy Ming Pao Daily):

Sir Run Run Shaw (Siu Yat-Fu) was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hong Kong cinema. The 100 year-old Shaw did not accept the award in person, however, because he was not feeling well enough to attend the ceremony. Flanked by a contingent of Shaw Studio veterans that included Ti Lung, Gordon Liu (Lau Kar-Fai) and Jimmy Wang Yu, Shaw’s eldest son and presumptive heir, Siu Wai-Ming, accepted the award on Shaw’s behalf. Related image (courtesy Ming Pao Daily):

A reflection, perhaps, of his sometimes stand-offish relationship with the Hong Kong Film Awards, acclaimed director Johnnie To Kei-Fung was shut out at this year’s award despite receiving nine nominations for his films ELECTION 2 and EXILED. To, as he has done regularly in the past, did not attend the ceremony.

Big names Zhang Yimou, Chow Yun-Fat and Jet Li were also not present at the awards.

More from the awards ceremony following the list of results.

RESULTS FROM THE 26TH HONG KONG FILM AWARDS

For a detailed list of the nominees: See the official Hong Kong Film Awards website

BEST FILM: AFTER THIS OUR EXILE 父子

  • Presented by: Vision Film Workshop, Black & White Films Ltd.
  • Executive Producer: Chiu Li-Kuang (邱瓈寬)

BEST DIRECTOR: Patrick Tam Ka-Ming (譚家明) for AFTER THIS OUR EXILE

BEST SCREENPLAY: Patrick Tam Ka-Ming, Tian Koi-Leong (田開良) for AFTER THIS OUR EXILE

BEST ACTOR: Lau Ching-Wan (劉青雲) for MY NAME IS FAME (我要成名)

BEST ACTRESS: Gong Li (鞏俐) for CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER (滿城盡帶黃金甲)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Gouw Ian Iskanda (吳澋滔) for AFTER THIS OUR EXILE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Zhou Xun (周迅) for THE BANQUET (夜宴)

BEST NEW PERFORMER: Gouw Ian Iskanda for AFTER THIS OUR EXILE

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung (劉偉強) , Lai Yiu-Fai (黎耀輝) for CONFESSION OF PAIN (傷城)

BEST FILM EDITING: Eric Kong Chi-Leung (鄺志良) for BATTLE OF WITS (墨攻)

BEST ART DIRECTION: Huo Tingxiao (霍廷霄) for CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

BEST COSTUME AND MAKE-UP DESIGN: Yee Chung-Man (奚仲文) for CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

BEST ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY: Yuen Woo-Ping (袁和平) for FEARLESS (霍元甲)

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE: Peter Kam Pui-Tat (金培達) for ISABELLA (伊莎貝拉)

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SONG: “The Chrysthanthemum Terrace” (菊花台) from CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER sung by Jay Chou (周杰倫)

  • Composer: Jay Chou
  • Lyrics: Vincent Fang Wenshan (方文山)

BEST SOUND DESIGN: Nakom Kositpaisa for RE-CYCLE (鬼域)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Ng Yuen-Fai (吳炫輝) , Chas Chau Chi-Shing (鄒志盛), Emil Yee Kwok-Leung (余國亮) , Alex Lim Hung-Fung (林洪峯) for RE-CYCLE

BEST NEW DIRECTOR: Daniel Wu (吳彥祖) for THE HEAVENLY KINGS (四大天王)

BEST ASIAN FILM: RIDING ALONE FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES (千里走單騎) from Mainland China

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Sir Run Run Shaw (Siu Yat-Fu, 邵逸夫)

NOTES FROM THE CEREMONY:

- Despite rumours suggesting that their 18-year relationship was in peril, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Carina Lau Ka-Ling attended the ceremony hand-in-hand. The two also presented the Best Film award together. Of late, the couple has been plagued by rumours that Leung left Lau over Lau’s alleged “friendship” with Taiwanese tycoon Terry Guo Tai-Ming (Taiwan’s richest man and, according to Forbes, the 176th richest man in the world).

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- Teresa Mo Shun-Kwun was the first celebrity to show up on the red carpet. Mo: “I got here at 6:50 pm and waited around for a while before stepping out yet I’m still the first one here. Showing up early is a bad habit that I have to correct.”

For the record, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Carina Lau Ka-Ling were the last celebrities to arrive. Related image (courtesy Oriental Daily News):

- The boys from Alive, their musical director Paul Wong Kwoon-Chung and an entourage of twenty to thirty people arrived on a big yellow bus. Daniel Wu brought his girlfriend model Lisa S., Andrew Lin Hoi had his wife on his arm and Conroy Chan Chi-Chung was accompanied by his wife Josie Ho Chiu-Yi. Paul Wong performed during the cermony.

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FASHION NOTES:

- “Tube dresses” and “clutch purses” were all the rage at this year’s ceremony.

- Kelly Lin (Lam Hei-Lui), Huo Siyan (MY NAME IS FAME), Eva Huang Shengyi and Shu Qi turned heads with their eye-catching fashions. Related images:

- Rene Liu (Lau Yeuk-Ying) shocked many by dressing like a man. Related image (courtesy Ming Pao Daily):

- Oriental Daily News asked fashion designer Dorian Ho (official website) to comment on some of the fashions worn by the stars. His thoughts:

- Miriam Yeung Chin-Wai wore an elegant dress designed by Tomas Chan. However, her “rough demeamour” at the ceremony was not a match with the outfit’s elegance. Speculating that Yeung is still into her character as a fishmonger for her new film HOOK ON YOU, Ho remarked: “She might as well have done like Rene Liu and dressed like a man.”

- On South Korean star Song Hye-Kyo, Ho commented: “Her hair style is old-fashioned and her dress was just average. She doesn’t look a bit like a big star. She’s very pretty but the way she presented herself tonight was just a disappointment.”

- Ho had high praise for EEG personalities Isabella Leong Lok-Si and Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin. Ho: “Ah Sa (Choi) usually gets criticized for what she wears but she looked pretty good this time. She has a body type that’s very hard to dress so what she’s wearing is not bad. Besides, she’s wearing a brand, J. Mendel, that I really like.”

As for Isabella Leong, Ho said: “She frankly deserves some praise. A dress like that, with all those levels, can be very intimidating to wear but, with her height, she pulls it off. It’s a good fit. I think she’s really improving the way she dresses. Her fashion sense is starting to match the potential that she shows.”

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OTHER IMAGE LINKS:

Courtesy Oriental Daily News: THE BANQUET’s Zhou Xun; Chapman To Man-Chat and his wife Kristal Tin Yui-Lei; Stephy Tang Lai-Yan; Tang, Alex Fong Lik-Sun and some of the other former Cookies

Courtesy The Sun: Fellow winners Zhou Xun and Lau Ching-Wan exchange pleasantries; Jay Chou and Tony Ching Siu-Tung; Matthew Medvedev from ROB-B-HOOD; Kara Hui (Wai Ying-Hung)

Courtesy Ming Pao Daily: Zhou Xun accepts her award from presenter Miriam Yeung; Zhou; Anita Yuen Wing-Yi; Jay Chou

Oriental Daily News Photo Gallery Slideshow (Macromedia Flash Required)

 
 
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