Monday, January 26, 2009

My top ten 2008 Hong Kong movies list


The quiet drama that is far and away
the best Hong Kong movie of 2008

Better late than never? I had meant to write a list of the top ten of 2008 Hong Kong movies I had seen (including those seen at film fests and (still) have not received a 'regular' release) shortly after watching what I knew would be the last Hong Kong movie I'd watch in 2008 (which, for the record, was Ip Man). I also was thinking it might be good to get the list done before the Chinese New Year of the Ox came along.

As it turns out though, the holidays that have come by way of it Chinese New Year being upon us -- so, Kong Hei Fatt Choi to celebrating readers! -- are when I finally feel like I have time to really 'work' on this list; one which comes in the wake of having watched thirty-seven 2008 Hong Kong movies and deciding to renew my tradition of annual top 10 Hong Kong movies list (began on brns.com back with a 2001 list) which I temporarily abandoned in 2007 in favour of, among other things, taking part in the Annual LoveHKFilm.com Awards that I've decided against participating in this year.

So, without further ado, here is my top ten list of movies from a year which began badly with two major duds, including one by Johnnie To, and included a terribly humongous dud from the filmmaker I once considered to be my very favorite, but, fortunately, ended up with a string of worthwhile offerings (including numbers #2, 3 and 8 on this list) that I hope are portends of more good things to come from Hong Kong cinema in the year ahead:-

1) The Way We Are

Back in 2002 (when I was still living in the City of Brotherly Shove), the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema showcased more than its usual share of Hong Kong cinematic gems. While action fiends made a beeline for the Shaw Brothers' The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Concubine (which I also did go to see and enjoyed watching), I also was very happy to get a chance to see a quiet drama by Ann Hui on a big screen. As it so happens, July Rhapsody not only ended up topping my 2002 Hong Kong movies list but it got me feeling far more predisposed in the future to checking out the films of a director whose penchant for what Glenn nicely termed "lyrical fatalism" has frustrated me more than once.

Even more modest-scaled and unassuming than that 2002 drama which starred Jacky Cheung, Karena Lam and Anita Mui, The Way We Are is a small budget work whose only big names are director Hui and cinematographer Charlie Lam (and whose lead actress, Bau Hei-Jing, is best known for being Oscar winning cinematographer Peter Pau's sister). A "slice of life" offering revolving around three Tin Shui Wai residents from different generations, this is a drama that never gets overly dramatic -- and is all the better for this being so -- as well as contains some wonderfully amusing moments.

As Ann Hui proceeds to methodically paint richly detailed portraits of the kind of individuals -- a middle-aged grocery store worker, her quiet teenage son and a lonely grandmother -- who don't often get spotlighted, in real as well as reel life, what results is a film infused with a sense of great humanity as well as humility; one that may sound boring but actually is never mundane and, in fact, turns out to be very enthralling and immensely watchable.

2) The Beast Stalker

Packed with stunning action scenes but also interesting characters and a more than solid cast, Dante Lam's movie about a cop (Nicholas Tse), a kid (Wong Sum Yin) and a kidnapper (Nick Cheung -- who filmmakers seem to have belatedly realized excels in crime dramas over comedies) whose lives fate brings together on more than one occasion is enjoyably tight, taut and tension-filled. What truly seals my sense of this crime drama as an excellent piece of cinema though is its possession of a really good script (by Lam and Jack Ng), one that comes complete with an end coda that ties together the movie's many narrative strands in a way that sent shivers down my spine.

3) Ip Man

This period actioner about the wing chun master hitherto best known as Bruce Lee's sifu seems bent on making Ip Man (AKA Yip Man) comparable to another real life martial arts master, Huo Yuanjia (whose own story was immortalized on film in Fearless), and the latter's student, Chen Zhen (portrayed both by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury and Jet Li in Fist of Legend) rather than tell a truer story of the man. It also has the kind of one-dimensional characters that would be laughable if they weren't so negative. So why is it so high on this list? Because, purely and simply, the action on display really rocks! Inventively choreographed by Sammo Hung and confidently executed by the likes of Donnie Yen, Fan Siu Wong and Chen Zihui, the scenes also look to have been masterfully shot and edited. Consequently, the fierce beauty of the martial arts comes through in an adrenaline pumping way that I found thoroughly satisfying as well as exciting!

4) Election

Before anything else: no, I'm not referring here to the 2005 Johnnie To triad drama. Rather, I'm trying to draw attention here to Tammy Cheung's documentary about the 2004 Legislative Council elections that was given screenings shortly before and after this past year's LegCo elections that I found fascinating, enlightening and also quite a bit of fun to watch -- the last in large part because of the caught-on-camera antics of politicians who, for all of Hong Kong's being a major world city, often come across -- sometimes endearingly, other times shockingly -- more like amateurish small-town politicos!

5) City Without Baseball

This Lawrence Lau (AKA Lawrence Ah Mon) and Scud (he only goes by one name) co-helmed offering stars the real-life Hong Kong baseball team. But although it does have some baseball-playing scenes, much of it comes across as an at least somewhat fictionalized work, albeit one with actors who are so natural that it's amazing to find out that they really are experienced baseball players rather than film folks. Adding to its minority status is this Hong Kong movie about a minority sport in the HKSAR possessing homosexual content and full frontal male nudity. All in all, I can't help but think that this movie would have benefited from having fewer themes and characters. Post having viewed it not once but twice, however, my feeling is that it's one of those quality works that not only is worth a second viewing but actually improves upon one doing so.

6) Ticket

Shot entirely in Mainland China and with nary a Cantonese line of dialogue, this tearjerker of a drama about a young woman (played by Zuo Xiaoqing) left at the door of a Christian orphonage as a young girl who decides to go and look for the biological parents might not qualify as a Hong Kong movie to some. However, on account of it being directed by Jacob Cheung (Cageman; Intimates) and allocating scene-stealing supporting roles to Cecilia Yip and Wu Ma as well as having a Taiwanese male lead (in Nicky Wu) who made his name as an actor in mid 1990s Hong Kong movies (like The Lovers), I'm going to count it as so. As to why it makes this list: Suffice to say that its story moved me tears. In addition, this film gets bonus points on account of it taking its viewers out of the usual locations to show a China that may be physically beautiful but also requires back-breaking work of so many of its inhabitants.

7) Besieged City

As I gathered my breath post viewing this Lawrence Lau (AKA Lawrence Ah Mon) film that gives a completely different view of Tin Shui Wai from Ann Hui's The Way We Are, my film reviewer friend with whom I had watched the movie turned to me and said, "Slit my wrists now!" That statement wasn't a reflection of the quality of the work. Rather, it gave a sense of how depressingly bleak this dramatic offering's tone is. Not the kind of film for those looking for a good time at the movies (the understatement of the year there?!), it literally gave me nightmares as well as understandably bombed at the box office. Nevertheless, I'm glad I saw this work which feels alarmingly real and tells the kind of personal stories I sincerely believe society ignores at its peril.

8) True Women for Sale

Filmmaker Herman Yau and writer Yang Yee-shan collaborated in 2007 on Whispers and Moans, a prostitute drama which focused on the world of nightclub hostesses. One year on, Yau and Yang went further down market into the world of Sham Shui Po streetwalkers. In the process, they also went for greater levity -- albeit mixed with some of the usual prostitute drama melodrama -- than tragedy. The result is a movie that feels more light-weight as well as light-hearted than I would have liked.

At the same time, however, there is no denying its entertainment value; not least from watching two worthy acting performances from Prudence Liew (the surprise winner of the 2008 Golden Horse Best Actress Award) and Anthony Wong Chau San (one of those Hong Kong actors who truly has improved with age).

9) All's Right With the World

How does one decide if a film is good? One criteria I use is that a good film is one that you catch yourself thinking of from time and time, and months, even years, post viewing it. Perhaps because it's Chinese New Year and this King Wai Cheung documentary specifically looked at how poor people in Hong Kong observe Chinese New Year, I found myself recalling scenes from that work as I walked around Hong Kong today and in the days building up to this festive event. And hoping that the people featured in the film -- who I found courageous in their open-ness about their living conditions and problems -- and too many others in similar situations manage to find some happiness in the new year of the Ox.

10) La Lingerie

There have been times when after having a delightful interview with its director (or star), you watch a movie and embarassingly decide that it's a bust. Such, I'm glad to report, was not the case with La Lingerie, writer-director Chan Hing-kar's years later follow-up to his La Brassiere (the latter of which had Patrick Leung as its co-director).

This time around, he -- who, as it turns out, was the last person I interviewed for bc magazine -- has a female co-director (Janet Chun) as well as producer (Amy Chin, who I also had the pleasure to meet and talk to). In any case, the soft-spoken director may consider himself a bit of a male chauvinist but I really do reckon that, as with La Brassiere, this romantic comedy manages to present female as well as male viewpoints in what is less of a battle of the sexes this time around than often hysterically funny, but at times surprisingly sad and touching, account of women's pursuit of true love.

25 comments:

Glenn, kenixfan said...

Hey, thanks for the quote. I have highs hopes for both Ip Man and Beast Stalker based mainly on your reviews.

I agree that Nick Cheung is a good actor when he plays sort of intense, high strung characters -- who can forget his first appearance in To's Election, eating the ground-up china cup to show his bad-assness?

I am interested in Ticket now since Nicky Wu is in it. He was quite good in The Lovers. In fact, I think I need to rewatch that film now that I've suffered through the silly Butterfly Lovers recently.

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

I hope you will find "Ip Man" and "Beast Stalker" to your liking (and hope they won't lose too much from not being seen on a big screen).

Re Nick Cheung: If I'm not mistaken, he actually used to be a policeman. In any event, agree that he can pull of intense, high strung, bad-assness well. And yeah, have to say that "Election" helped to revise my previously not too positive opinion of his acting.

Re "The Lovers": Did your DVD copy have okay-sized English subs? The one I've seen has miniscule ones!

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I'm pretty sure that my The Lovers DVD was the same as my Chinese Feast DVD -- bad subtitles. I have the legal DVDs of each.

In the perfect world, there would be Criterion-level releases of those two films as well as Peking Opera Blues and Green Snake!

A Tsui Hark Criterion line!

Author: Christopher Bourne said...

Looks like a very interesting list. I haven't been following HK cinema that much lately, so this'll be a great guide for me. There's a Netflix-type rental service called Cinflix that I get most of my Asian films from, and I've just added La Lingerie and City Without Baseball to my queue based on your recommendations.

I've also got The Way We Are on deck to arrive in the next batch. I'm a big fan of Ann Hui as well. I'm also looking forward to seeing True Women for Sale, since I was very impressed by Whispers and Moans, which I reviewed on my blog.

Just out of curiosity, what were the "duds" you referred to? I'm guessing the Johnnie To one was Linger, which I haven't yet seen, but have heard not such great things about.

Brian said...

Thanks for the list. I am embarrassingly behind on my HK 2008viewing but hope to at least make a small dent in them soon. The only ones I have seen on your list are City Without Baseball and Besieged City - both which I liked a fair amount. Maybe by the end of this year I will have a top 10 for 2008!

Kathie Smith said...

First, I hope the Johnnie To dud was Sparrow (a dud in my book) and not Mad Detective (awesome in my book.)

The good news and the bad news is have not seen any of these films! Good in the sense that I will check out some film that I would have barely given a chance; bad in the sense that I feel somewhat out of touch.

Admittedly I have The Way We Are in my possession, and have yet to check it out. I also approach Ann Hui's films with caution. Similarly, I found July Rhapsody an overwhelmingly subtle and moving film, punctuated by one of Jacky Cheungs's best performances (and sadly Anita Mui's last.) But The Postmodern Life of My Aunt? Goddess of Mercy? Not so much. Point is, I'm excited to check this out.

Same goes for Beast Stalker which I was planning on getting after reading Kozo's review over at Love HK Film. Ip Man is another that I would not pass up.

As for the other seven, all I can say is thanks for the recommendations! I was unable to find Tickets, Election or All's Right With the World, but I will keep my eyes open!

I also see from your screening log that you liked Red Cliff 2. That's good news. I though the first one was kind a blah.

Cheers! 恭喜发财! Gong xi fa cai!

YTSL said...

Hi again Glenn --

I'm sadly too familiar with the DVDs of "The Lovers" and "The Chinese Feast" with tiny subtitles. I actually also own a version of "The Chinese Feast" with large subs *and* extra scenes including a fight between Chiu Man Cheuk and Xiong Xin Xin but know that it *is* a rare version and also now out of stock.

A Tsui Hark Criterion line seems unlikely but if there were, one other movie that I'd readily nominate to get the Criterion treatment would be the wonderful "Shanghai Blues".

Hi Christopher --

Re the duds: The early 2008 ones were the low budget "Sparkle in the Dark" and -- yes, you're correct -- Johnnie To's "Linger".

As for the dud of the year: That would be Tsui Hark's "Missing". Post screening, I wanted to cry at the thought of how the mighty have fallen. (And for the record, I've been too afraid to check out his "All About Women" post the experience with "Missing"... :S)

Hi Brian --

I really do hope you go back to watching more Hong Kong movies. And writing about them too!

Hi Kathie --

The Johnnie To dud wasn't either -- and, actually, "Mad Detective" came out in 2007 (not 2008). But if truth be told, the last Johnnie To movie I really liked was "Exiled" (2006) rather anything he helmed in 2007 or 2008.

Re Ann Hui's movies: Actually found "The Postmodern Life of My Aunt" to be a lot of fun before it all got too depressing for its own good. And also liked "Goddess of Mercy" -- maybe I had a higher tolerance than most on account of my being a fan of both Vicki Zhao Wei and Nicholas Tse.

Have seen far worse from Ann Hui. (E.g., I *really* dislike "Eighteen Springs" and "My American Grandson".) OTOH... have you seen "Song of the Exile" and her feature film debut-making "The Secret"? If not and you get the chance to check them out, don't think you'll regret doing so.

As for the other films: Am surprised to hear that you can't find "Ticket" but the other two *are* documentaries and Hong Kong documentaries do tend to be difficult to find on DVD. Sorry.

As for "Red Cliff": Yeah, I think Part II is a great deal better than Part I. This being said, it really does help to watch Part I before Part II. So watching Part I shouldn't be for nought!

And gong xi fa cai to you too! :)

Timo said...

Justifiable criticism for Sparrow aside - and sure, you can criticize it for a lot of things -, I'm simply not seeing how one could possibly put it below a movie like La Lingerie.

HK Cinema needs films like Sparrow and Beast Stalker right now, not the same throwaway crap that the likes of Wong Jing will still produce when HK is only inhabited by cockroaches sometime after WWIII.

Anyway, sorry for me getting all emotional here. Nice list otherwise.

Kathie Smith said...

Sorry, I didn't want to start a Sparrow controversy...although I enjoyed Sparrow, I was disappointed. No doubt it is a much better film than most. I have yet to see Linger.

On another note, I avoided the Tsui Hark films after reading some fairly scathing reviews. Usually that doesn't stop me, but this was across the board, and I guess for good reason. I am tempted to check out All About Women with expectations set pretty low.

I haven't seen Song of the Exile - I will definitely check it out. Thanks for all the info, YTSL!

Jason said...

1) Just read your comment over at Brian's blog-Whoa, that is quite a coincidence! Perhaps that night was our Chungking Express moment: "...we were just 0.01cm from each other..." Hahaha!

2) I agree Nick Cheung is far better as a dramatic actor, but I have to say I thought he was hilarious in Tricky Master, as well as King of Debt Collecting Agent (one of my favorite transliterated titles). I seem to recall reading at the time that Wong Jing was grooming Nick to replace Stephen Chow as his main mo lei tau go-to guy, but luckily Nick's moved on to bigger and better things.

3) I was interested in seeing Ip Man before, but then I saw the lively debate over at Grady's and now I'm really curios to see what the fuss is about and where I fall opinion-wise.

4) I've read about Longhair several times in the past, so I'm very curious to see this doc. Any idea of the chances of an English-subbed DVD release?

5-9) Plan to see all these...

10) One of the directors is the same, and obviously the cast is completely different, but is this in any way intended as a sequel to La Brassiere and Mighty Baby? I have no problem admitting I love hare-brained HK rom-coms, and those are two of my favorites.

Stefan S said...

man, a lot of those films didn't make it here in Singapore, some like La Lingerie went straight to DVD.

I've recently watched Breaking News (yeah a bit slow I know) and Nick Cheung was awesome in it too!

YTSL said...

Before anything else: thanks for all the comments. It's made me feel that my lengthy post's worth it. But don't let that stop from anyone from commenting some more here! :)

Hi Timo --

How can someone put "La Lingerie" above "Sparrow" on her list? Simple. I enjoyed my viewing of "La Lingerie" quite a bit more than my one of "Sparrow". Also, I actually believe that "La Lingerie" contains more genuinely heartfelt scenes -- notably the one of the woman walking along the tram tracks -- than "Sparrow".

As for Hong Kong cinema needing movies like "Sparrow" but not "La Lingerie": Actually, I think Hong Kong cinema could do with a few more films like "La Lingerie" which gives big roles to local actresses (and I have to say that Stephy Tang did good in this movie) like it.

Also, I might go so far as to suggest that "La Lingerie" is a more archetypal Hong Kong movie than "Sparrow" -- which I see as a Johnnie To calling card to the West (maybe particularly France) -- in that it's: a) really unpretentious; b) openly seeks to entertain; and c) happily ignores genre boundaries and is casually multi-/trans-genre like many of the Hong Kong movies of yore that I adore.

Hi again Kathie --

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to state that I don't hate "Sparrow". I just don't think it's all that great. (All in all, I'd give it a solid 6.0 on the brns.com scale; in contrast, I'd award "La Lingerie" a 7, maybe even 7.5 -- and Johnnie To's "Exiled" a straight 9.0.)

Re "Missing": Not only was it directed by a filmmaker who's made many films I love but it also stars Lee Sinjie (who I like a lot) and has Chang Chen (who I also like a lot) in the cast. So imagine my pain at seeing their collective efforts producing such a truly terrible movie. :(

Moving on: Strange but true, I found "Song of the Exile" on a Tai Seng VHS tape in the US. Would love to see the movie again but haven't seen any version of it available over here in Hong Kong. So you may well have a better chance than me of seeing it over the next year or so (as was the case with "Ashes of Time Redux" which *sob* still hasn't been screened here!!!)!

Hi Jason --

Teeheehee at your "Chungking Express"-ian suggestion. And maybe you're right! ;b

Re "Ip Man": Have you noticed that Variety's Derek Elley's given it quite a positive review (too)? :)

Re Longhair: I think the chances of an English-subbed DVD of "Election" may be quite good as Tammy Cheung's "July" -- which also features Longhair in it -- is out on DVD, if I'm not mistaken.

Re "La Lingerie": There's a cameo appearance by someone who appeared in Chan Hing Kar's movies but I wouldn't say it's a real sequel of either "La Brassiere" or "Mighty Baby".

Hi Stefan --

So sad to hear that a lot of the Hong Kong movies on my list didn't make it to Singapore. (Of course, it's even sadder that when they do, they're dubbed into Mandarin!)

And Nick Cheung was okay in "Breaking News" -- unlike Kelly Chen -- but I think he really came into his own as an actor for me in Johnnie To's "Election 1".

Stefan S said...

I didn't like Election 1 the first time I saw it. Preferred 2 to 1. Then again, like you put it, ours is in Mandarin, and worse, the "China-cut"!!!

Perhaps it is wise to rewatch it on DVD, and the version it was meant to be :)

btw Ashes of Time Redux has also not made it to the screens here.. no matter, I'll likely get the DVD once out for the proper language track :P

I've only seen Lee Sinjie in person once from afar, when she was on stage with Sylvia Chang, Daniel Wu and Edison Chen when they were here many years back on the Princess D Promotional Tour.

sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

As always I enjoyed reading your top 10 list of Hong Kong films. I've only seen 3 of the 10. The Way We Are was my favorite film of the year. Ashes of Time Redux was also a favorite but as it was a "Redux" I didn't consider it as a contender though one could think diffently.

I also liked the Criterion Edition of Chungking Express. I could see so much more detail in this edition it was almost like seeing it for the first time.

Besieged City was a wonderful downer of a film. I think of Besieged City and The Way We Are as companion movies and insisted a friend who wanted to see Besieged City watch both movies. He did and was glad I'd been so "pushy".

City Without Baseball captured what playing on a team is about. Sports fans see a game and yet there is so much action that takes place outside of the actual sport itself. The baseball players were quite good as actors too.

Sparrow seemed to me an attempt at 'French style' Hong Kong cinema which I didn't find in itself objectionable. What bothered me was the characters didn't seem to connect with each other. Simon Yam's character seemed like he was performing in a void as the other characters didn't seem to click with him. This isn't a criticism of Simon Yam but of the others.

Timo said...

YTSL - you are right when you say that it is very archetypical and very local; however I just think for that kind of film (or any, for that matter), it wasn't made very well. The moments like the one that you mentioned seemed incredibly manufactured to me (more so than in Sparrow, where I felt that the sense of artifice was very deliberate and part of the atmosphere), making the genre cross-over more irritating than anything.

What I was trying to say with my "needed" comment is quite simply: Movies like La Lingerie will always come out in HK, no matter its bleak state; but they're not what made HK cinema so great and lauded in the first place.

YTSL said...

Hi again Stefan --

Yes, I do think it'd be wise to watch the Hong Kong version of "Election 1", original language, conclusion and all! :b

Re "Ashes of Time Redux": Here's the weird thing about it... for the original "Ashes of Time", all the main cast members bar for Brigitte spoke in Cantonese but Brigitte spoke in Mandarin. So...

And lucky you for seeing Lee Sinjie: have yet to do that myself! :)

Hi sbk --

Haven't begun making an overall top ten 2008 films list. It'll be interesting to see where "The Way We Are" and the Hong Kong films end up on such a list once I make it...

As to it making a good double bill with "Besieged City". I agree. At the same time, "Besieged City", "City Without Baseball" and "Ballistic" also make a good -- and very interesting, I reckon -- 2008 Lawrence Lau triple bill!

And agreed too re your comments re "Sparrow". Though I also have to say that Simon Yam was guilty of the most over-acting since his gigolo movie days in "Sparrow". That opening scene in which he was sewing -- coupled with that very obviously fake looking bird -- just didn't start things off on a good footing for me... :S

Hi again Timo --

I'd grant that "La Lingerie" is not the most polished movie out there. Or, for that matter, the most polished of Chan Hing Kar's films. At the same time, much of it actually worked for me -- even while evidently not doing so for you.

As for your comments re "need": I'm sorry but I have to disagree that "movies like La Lingerie will always come out of HK". Also, even if they're not the single type of movie that can be credited with making Hong Kong cinema great, I think they're needed in the mix -- and by they, I mean films that try to entertain (not just impress), that put females in the forefront (not ignore them for the most part or, as Johnnie To has done more than once now, have them as the femme fatale who threatens brotherly bonds), etc.

Kathie Smith said...

Yes Asia is selling a version Of Song of the Exile ("Goldenward series"). It's in Mandarin with only Chinese subtitles which means I will be doing some pausing or rewinding to catch the dialog, but that is okay.

YTSL said...

Hi Kathie --

You understand Mandarin? Then you're in luck... though here's giving you advance warning that "Song of the Exile" is quite a talky movie, as I recall, so it sounds like you'll be doing a lot of pausing and rewinding when watching it!

Brian said...

Sbk - does the Criterion Chungking Express have the original soundtrack? I know when another US distributor put it out previously they had to drop some of the songs because they cost too much - Faye's version of the Cranberry song if I recall - which to me is the highlight of the film.

I just perused thru Love HK to see what I missed last year - pretty much everything and have to decide which ones to get. So many have awful titles like Kung Fu Hiphop, L for Love, Love Elsewhere, Playboy Cops, My Wife is a Gambling Maestro, Happy Funeral, Forever Enthralled, The Vampire Who Admires me, See You in YouTube and Hong Kong Bronx among them that it's kind of difficult to get too enthusiastic about seeing them!

YTSL said...

Hi again Brian --

Have to admit I avoided a lot of the films you listed. OTOH, actually found "L For Love, L For Lies" quite touching in parts. Also, "My Wife is a Gambling Maestro" is not bad though -- okay, it's a God of Gamblers retread but with a female protagonist and with some fun bits that's all its own. (And before anything else: yes, Timo, I don't think all Wong Jing movies are bad!) And have heard good things about "Hong Kong Bronx" -- just waiting for the DVD price to go down further!

OTOH, "Happy Funeral" is painful... frankly, there are quite a few movies focused on young adults ("High Noon" is another) that gets me thinking: god, we're doomed when the youngsters take over -- both as a society and as a cinema!

sbk said...

Hi Brian,

Yes, the Criterion Chungking Express has the original soundtrack. The Cranberries music is playing with/behind the menu too.

After watching the movie I got out every karaoke vcd/dvd I have with Faye singing Dreams (夢中人) and danced around. YouTube has several different versions also.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sbk! I will get that pronto - all my versions are pretty mediocre. That makes my day!

YTSL - that was the main thing I noticed going thru all those films - so many of them are about teenagers and I have no clue who the actors are - that Stephy Tang who you seem to like seems to show up in a lot of them though! You actually chose to see My Wife is a Maestro or was that a work assignment?! If it stops snowing I hope to get to Chinatown tomorrow. Its been months since I did a HK movie shopping spree!

YTSL said...

Hi again sbk --

And how many Faye Wong karaoke vcd/dvds do you own? ;b

Hi again Brian (writing as "anonymous") --

I think Stephy Tang is promising. Have you seen "Trivial Matters" yet? If not, add that 2007 Pang Ho-cheung movie to your list and check her and the rest of that star-studded cast out.

And yeah, was assigned to view and review "My Wife is a Gambling Maestro" -- but it turned out to be not too bad at all! :)

luna6 said...

Hello,
Came across your website and enjoyed reading your top ten list. I would put "The Way We Are" and "True Women for Sale" up there for best films from Hong Kong in 2008 and like yourself I really enjoyed "La Lingerie" (way more than expected). Cheers...

YTSL said...

Hi Luna6 --

Thanks for visiting, reading and am glad to learn that you agree with my views re those three Hong Kong movies. :)