Saturday, November 22, 2008

THE TIRED CITY (Hong Kong, 2008)

THE TIRED CITY (Hong Kong, 2005/2008)
D: John Chan and Pam Hung

An official selection of the 2008 Hong Kong Independent Short Film Awards, presented here via the YouTube Screening Room.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I.C. KILL (Hong Kong; 1999)

I. C. KILL (1999)
D: Mihiel Wong Chung-ning.
Y2K jitters conjure up yet another ghost in the machine in this moderately (but surprisingly) witty, suspenseful videogramme that has slacker Michael Tse fearing for his life after roommate Jason Chu intercepts a date with his pretty new internet ICQ chatmate (Liz Kong) and turns up face down at the Ma Liu Shui pier in Sha Tin shortly thereafter. Tech-dumb detective Vincent Wan sizes up the clues, discovers a small chain of victims—including an embarrassed, defensive young female survivor in the hospital—and deduces that the perp is, in fact, a vengeful ghost with a firm deadline for Tse’s departure from the mortal coil. Taking their cue from last year’s phenomenally successful RING pictures from Japan—not for nothing is this film’s bogeywoman named Hiroko—director Mihiel Wong and writer Andrew Wu, who shared these duties between them last year on their debut project B. FOR BOYS, think cinematically on a home video budget and come up with a (very) rough gem distinguished by smart blocking in visually interesting locations—aided in no small part by cinematographers Ng Wing-sin and Lau Wai-kwan, and art director Ginnie Fung Suk-fun (the lamp in Tse’s apartment radiates golden-orange like something from a Wong Kar-wai movie)—and two lead characters that are generally more rounded, both in the writing and the performances, than one usually finds in this corner of the shot-on-video arena. The picture’s most notable asset might very well be it’s unvarnished depiction of computer user interface and online chat sessions (watch the video), something far too many filmmakers unnecessarily “enhance” with phony graphics and sound effects. It should be interesting to see what Wong and Wu are capable of should they return to shooting on film.