Restored in 4K by Udine’s Far East Film Festival, Fruit Chan‘s anarchic cult movie returns to Hong Kong’s cinemas the 1st of July, exactly 20 years after theHandover and its first showing!
UDINE – Asian cinema and Western cinema have never been so close: on Saturday the 1st of July, a film will be released in the cinemas of Hong Hong which has strong ties to Italy. Or, to be more precise, to a small part of Italy: Udine. To be even more precise, to the Far East Film Festival in Udine.
The 1st of July 2017 is not just any date either – it marks exactly the 20th anniversary of the Handover (the fateful return of Hong Kong to China). And it’s certainly not just any movie: Made in Hong Kong intercepted and documented the Handover’s repercussions ‘in real-time’, narrating the socio-political temperature of a city and its community head-on.
Invisible and impossible-to-find for two decades and seemingly doomed to obscurity, Fruit Chan‘s powerful instant classic returns to new life today thanks to the 4K restoration produced by the Far East Film Festival with the collaboration of Andy Lau‘s Hong Kong production company Focus Film, and realised by Bologna’s L’Immagine Ritrovata on the basis of the original negative (with the supervision of the director and of the director of photography O Sing-pui).
For the first time in history, a restored film will be shown in the cinemas of Hong Kong (Golden Scene is the distributor). And not just any film, let’s not forget. Fruit Chan’s anarchic cult movie is a powerful distillation of urban alienation and youthful despair, shot on a shoestring and with a truly impressive freshness. Released shortly after the handover, it communicates its effects freely and perfectly. A time of worry and tension for the inhabitants of Hong Kong, frightened by a confusing future. A time of new beginnings and opportunities for its cinema, forced to seek a renaissance after the splendours of Bruce Lee, John Woo and Wong Kar-wai.
An honest-to-god manifesto of independent film, shot at low cost with non-professional actors in authentic locations, Made in Hong Kong tells the story of Moon (the sexy Sam Lee), a small-time thug who has dropped out of school and lives in the pay of a local mobster. Doomed and yet naively in search of a way out, he spends his pointless, violent life with Sylvester, his mentally retarded friend, and one day falls in love with Ping, a girl with a terminal illness. And that’s all it takes to trigger the perfect fatal storm…
In Fruit Chan’s own words: “I was worried that the restored version would be too perfect: Made in Hong Kong had been shot using out-of-date film stock, so it looked very rough and gritty. I was worried that the movie would become something different if it looked too clean, so I asked for the grain and the character of the images to be kept. It sounds easy, but I didn’t have the slightest idea of how they would do it! When
I saw the restored version, I was extremely pleased with the end result: it was a faithful reproduction of the original.”
Born and bred in Hong Kong, Fruit Chan (1959) joined the cinema industry as an assistant director in the early eighties, and directed his first feature film, Finale in Blood, in 1993, followed by Made in Hong Kong (1997). Subsequently he received critical and public acclaim for films like The Longest Summer (1998), Durian, Durian (2000), Hollywood Hong Kong (2002) and Dumplings: Three… Extremes (2004). In recent years he has been active as a producer and director of short films and directed the popular science-fiction film The Midnight After (2014, shown the same year at the FEFF).