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What is a Good Teacher
Year: 2000 "Hey kids! You might remember me from such films as The Mission."
Francis Ng tries teaching
Director: Francis Ng Chun-Yu
Writer: Raymond To Kwok-Wai
Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Cheung Tat-Ming, Dayo Wong Chi-Wah, Astrid Chan Chi-Ching, Lam Kei-Yun, Ronnie Cheung Ho-Lung, Ho Ting-Yun, Isabel Chan Yat-Ning, Yen Wing-San, Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Kwan Hoi-San, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin
The Skinny: Failed experiment in storytelling from director Francis Ng and writer Raymond To Kwok-Wai. This examination of the HK educational system provides some detail but very little actual insight.
by Kozo:
     Well-meaning picture from sophomore director Francis Ng shows some real feeling and thought, but unfortunately the film doesnt entirely gel. An exploration of the HK education system by celebrated writer Raymond To, it features Francis Ng as a new teacher who cant adjust to his new students - and proceeds to do things differently. It seems that Ngs character is retarded in his inability to teach his students, but his innocence and lack of cynicism actually proceeds to make a difference. Or that's what were supposed to think.
     The problem with this film is the notion that all of this is really making a difference. Wed like to think it is, and the students do seem to cotton to Ngs unorthodox ways, but for every student that finds him an inspiration there are twenty more that think he makes no sense at all. Everything is told in an incredibly opaque manner such that one really wonders what happened. This may be a curse of Raymond Tos most recent scripts. While he has a wonderful handle on setting and incidental character, he has a nasty tendency to leave his characters with nowhere to go. If were going to examine the absurd nature of HKs education system then either we go for all-out satire (not Tos strength) or a film with a definite sense of change. The change that occurs is so minor that it seems to render the film mute.
     On the plus side, Ng has managed to corral a fine bunch of character actors (Cheung Tat-Ming, Kwan Hoi-Shan, Anthony Wong) and his directorial career looks like it could get somewhere. Ng does have a feeling for his subject matter, and even when the result is less-than-perfect he manages to imbue his films with a quiet dignity. Not a film for the casual viewer, but if you want to check out what amounts to Hong Kong independent film than this film is at least worth a look. (Kozo 2000)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Winson Entertainment
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Winson Entertainment Distribution, Ltd.
 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen