Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shanghai Blues, Hong Kong Cheer

Close to a decade ago, I met a fellow Hong Kong film fan while visiting Hong Kong who I had previously only known through his writings on such as the Mobius Home Video Forum's then very active and often very fun Asian Cinema discussion board. Over the years, he has grown to be a good friend as well as an absolute font of knowledge on Hong Kong matters as diverse as movie locations, hiking books, cultural heritage and where to get great tau fu fah (soybean custard) in the Big Lychee.

Early on during our acquaintance, he also introduced me to the woman who also has become a friend of mine -- and finally legally became his wife today. In memory of this lovely couple's wedding day (and to commemorate my having attended my first ever wedding dinner in Hong Kong -- which was preceded by my first experience of playing mahjong in Hong Kong (I love how their wedding invitation card stated that dinner would begin at 8pm, and the mahjong at 5pm!)), here's sharing a video clip from one of the first Hong Kong movies I watched in a theater with them -- Tsui Hark's sublime Shanghai Blues -- during which Sally Yeh, one of the film's stars, sings the movie's signature song:-

And for the record, yes, this is the same Shanghai Blues that Brian recently blogged about over at his Asian Cinema -- While On the Road. (Also, for those who have not seen it, this Film Workshop masterpiece actually is much more happy, romantic and comedic than its title seems to suggest!) And oh my, what I'd give for Tsui Hark to return to making great movies, full of heart, soul and cinematic magic, like it...


hcpen said...

I watched this movie earlier this year after many hk oldie film fans recommended it..i loved it! It had one of my fav taiwanese/hk actresses Sylvia Chang and also the funny Sally Yeh and Ah B in it! Also you said u watched it in a theatre?! How? This movie came out in the 80s n u watched it with ur fren in the 2000s?

hcpen said...

And also i must agree, Tsui Hark and many other HK and mainland directors whom used to produce such high quality films have all gone downhill in the past over one decade or so..nowadays, its all about the stars, budget, huge action/CGI scenes, and little creativity, credible scripts/plotlines as well as spontainity:-)

YTSL said...

Hi hcpen --

Glad you managed to view the movie (and agree -- it's got a great starring trio in Sylvia Chang, Sally Yeh and Kenny Bee). As for theater -- well, there's this wonderful facility here known as the Hong Kong Film Archive and they screen films like "Shanghai Blues" in their theatre. (Also, "Shanghai Blues" was on this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival programme -- I didn't catch it this year though because it was showing on a work-day afternoon.)

Re your second set of comments: Well, "Shanghai Blues" benefits from having the stars it does... but yes, more attention to scripts and a return to substance as well as style certainly would be welcome -- especially on the part of Tsui Hark. (OTOH, maybe I'm in a minority but I rank "Red Cliff 2" among John Woo's best and also liked Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower" a lot!)

Brian said...

I assume I know who you are referring to so my very best congratulations to the couple as well! Wonderful news. What are they doing for their honeymoon? Watching HK movies!

Diana said...

I would love to see this film because I have read about it for years now but have not been able to find it. I am afraid that by time I do get to see it, I will be disappointed because my expectations will have gotten too high.

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

What a fun sounding wedding. Give them my best and please wish them every happiness.

And thanks for the clip.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to newly wedded mystery couple! Best wishes for abundant and long-lasting happiness. :D

fallingstones said...

absolutely wonderful piece of music! and movie too, of course!

YTSL said...

Hi Brian --

If you think you know who I'm referring to, why not e-mail your congratulations to them directly? And I think they're showing his visiting family contingent Hong Kong for their "honeymoon"! ;b

Hi Diana --

It's a really enchanting film but just think should you ever get to watch it that it was made back in 1984 and on a small budget. And I hope my enthusiasm doesn't ruin it for you -- for that really would be a crying shame... :S

Hi sbk --

You're another one I think should e-mail at least the groom directly to congratulate him (and her)! :D

Hi duriandave --

And a third... yep, you, too, have met the groom AND the bride! :D

Hi fallingstones --

Agreed - great movie AND music. (And yes, I love the fact that the song is subtitled -- even if imperfectly -- in the videoclip.):)