28 April 2012

“School on Fire (學校風雲)” Location: Forever Changing Hong Kong

Last month, I came across Daniel Thomas' great blog “Hong Kong On Film,” which is all about filming locations, locations and locations of various Hong Kong films. He has a “Help Me!!!” page where he lists screen captures from various films for which he cannot figure out actual locations. Out of curiosity, I tried and managed to find some of the places listed on the page, and the process was so much fun!

One of the films in question was “School on Fire (學校風雲),” a 1988 release directed by Ringo Lam (林嶺東). One of its filming locations I figured out was the junction of Portland Street (砵蘭街) and Prince Edward Road West (太子道西). Wah Lok (華樂) restaurant, where Roy Cheung (張耀揚)s character Brother Smart (瀟洒哥) frequented, and the nearby brothel where poor Fennie Yuen (袁潔瑩)s character Chu Yuen-Fong (朱婉芳) was forced to work, were aptly situated on Portland Street, Hong Kongs infamous red light district. Ringo Lam is well known for his realistic approach to film making, and I suppose it is reflected on this selection of location as well. (On this film, you can see the windows of the brothel are coated with paint. I don’t know if the work was done for the film or an actual brothel was used…could be the latter…)

27 April 2012

Review: A Simple Life / 桃姐

Hong Kong, 2011-2012
Director: Ann Hui (許鞍華)
Cast: Andy Lau (劉德華), Deanie Ip (葉德嫻), Amanda Qin Hai-Lu (秦海璐), Wang Fu-Li (王馥荔), Paul Chun (秦沛), Anthony Wong (黃秋生)

“A Simple Life,” which won the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards’ five major categories earlier this month, is based on a true story, of its producer Roger Lee (李恩霖) and his family’s late servant Chung Chun-Tou (鍾春桃). The anecdote itself is not necessarily dramatic but, as the film’s title suggests, quite simple. After the Leong family (Lee’s surname has been changed to Leong in the movie) immigrated to San Francisco, the long-serving family maid Chun-Tou - nicknamed A-Tou (阿桃) or Tou-Je (桃姐), played by Deanie Ip - is left in Hong Kong just to look after the young master Roger (Andy Lau). One day, Tou-Je has a stroke, and after recovery, decides to move into an old people’s home.