Cin­e­matic grandeur

10 best Hong Kong films since the 1997 han­dover.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By ED­MUND LEE

1. In The Mood For Love (2000)

Words can­not de­scribe the sub­lime beauty of Wong Kar Wai’s 1960s-set ro­mance – even if the au­teur bor­rowed more than a few ideas from Liu Yichang’s novella In­ter­sec­tion. Star­ring Tony Le­ung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk as a pair of be­trayed spouses who find com­fort in each other but hes­i­tate to go fur­ther, the vis­ually sump­tu­ous and emo­tion­ally dev­as­tat­ing film is widely re­garded as one of the great­est, from any coun­try, of the 21st cen­tury – and de­servedly so.

2. Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon (2000)

The first wuxia film to earn both crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial ac­claim on a global scale, Ang Lee’s mul­ti­ple-Os­car win­ner con­quered the West with its grace­ful dis­play of grav­i­ty­de­fy­ing hero­ics, while winning hearts back home with its star-crossed lovers bound by Chi­nese tra­di­tion. Chow Yun-fat was smart not to re­turn for the sequel – this is a sin­gu­lar achieve­ment that couldn’t be matched.

3. Elec­tion 2 (2009)

While 2005’s Elec­tion im­pressed with its can­did look at the re­al­i­ties of Hong Kong triad societies, few ex­pected John­nie To to fol­low it up with the great­est Hong Kong gang­ster film ever made. The sadis­tic vi­o­lence doesn’t over­shadow the po­lit­i­cal mes­sages that To suc­cinctly weaves into this power drama – as cyn­i­cal about demo­cratic elections as it is China’s in­creas­ing con­trol over Hong Kong.

4. In­fer­nal Af­fairs (2002)

The un­der­cover po­lice thriller that re­vi­talised a genre and spawned an Os­car-winning re­make (Martin Scors­ese’s The De­parted), An­drew Lau Wai Ke­ung and Alan Mak Siu Fai’s mag­num opus takes its star-stud­ded cast – led by Andy Lau and Tony Le­ung Chiu Wai – on a metic­u­lously crafted chase af­ter destiny and rapidly fad­ing iden­ti­ties.

5. Made In Hong Kong (1997)

By far the most ac­claimed in­de­pen­dent film Hong Kong cinema has pro­duced, Fruit Chan Gor’s pes­simistic tale of dis­il­lu­sioned teenagers tran­scends its lim­ited re­sources to serve up a per­fect blend of style and sub­stance. Here’s a rare po­lit­i­cal fa­ble which man­ages to be at once com­i­cal and thor­oughly en­thralling.

6. The War­lords (2007)

Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro go through ev­ery shade of loy­alty in di­rec­tor Peter Chan Ho-sun’s en­gross­ing re­make of a Shaw Brothers clas­sic, The Blood Brothers (1973). A gritty pe­riod war epic, it is mem­o­rable for show­ing con­sciences at work in the harsh­est of cir­cum­stances.

7. A Sim­ple Life (2011)

The sim­plest story Ann Hui has told in her dec­o­rated ca­reer is also one of her best. Based on pro­ducer Roger Lee Yan Lam’s own ex­pe­ri­ences, this slice-of-life drama about a mid­dle-aged bach­e­lor (Andy Lau) and his age­ing ser­vant (Venice Film Fes­ti­val win­ner Deanie Ip Tak Han) is un­der­stated yet im­mensely touch­ing.

8. Ten Years (2015)

A brave and in­tel­li­gent po­lit­i­cal cri­tique which – with the help of am­ple, if ill-ad­vised pub­lic­ity in Chi­nese state me­dia – gal­vanised au­di­ences al­ready dread­ing the loss of their lo­cal iden­tity and way of life. Were its fear­ful sce­nar­ios pure fan­tasy? The hugely pop­u­lar film went miss­ing from cin­e­mas at a time when ev­ery screen­ing was still sold out.

9. Or­di­nary He­roes (1999)

A rare look back at the his­tory of so­cial ac­tivism in 1980s Hong Kong, Ann Hui On Wah’s multi-stranded drama is ex­traor­di­nar­ily am­bi­tious in scope. Not only does it pay homage to the for­got­ten he­roes who contributed to the city’s progress, but it does so through a the­mat­i­cally com­plex story of trauma and re­silience.

10. Triv­isa (2016)

A gloomy po­lit­i­cal fa­ble mas­ter­fully dis­guised as a por­trait of three larger-than-life felons from the city’s pre-han­dover past, this as­ton­ish­ingly as­sured crime drama by new di­rec­tors Frank Hui Hok Man, Jevons Au Man-kit and Vicky Wong Wai Kit is all the proof you need that the film in­dus­try’s fu­ture is in good hands. – South China Morn­ing Post

Triv­isa is helmed by three new au­teurs. — GSC Movies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.