My Name Is Fame- -
Fai, a talented actor who has won the Best New Artist of the Hong Kong Film Awards and always plays leading roles in television, is an arrogant guy who does not cherish the opportunities given to him. As he keeps on criticizing his co-workers, his career and popularity gradually deteriorates. He is not offered leading roles anymore and has to take the parts of villains and rapists. Finally, he has even lost his job at the TV station. Fai becomes extremely depressed, but a twist of fate makes him become an agent for extras. As Fai gives pointers to a young girl named Fei, who truly loves acting, he regains his own enthusiasm towards acting and life.
Returning from a five-year break and stepping well clear of the troubled teens and gritty realism most associated with his past work, director Lawrence Lau trumpets persistence in the breezy and intriguing My Name Is Fame.
Low-key movie-industry drama builds as viewers are introduced to the sorry state of affairs for actor Poon Kar-fai (Lau Ching-wan), highly capable and once one of Hong Kong film’s brightest lights but now letting himself get washed up between TV and bit-part stints. Boozing, jaded and questioning where he’s headed, Poon is ready to pack in his career until an eager new actress steps into the picture.
Wide-eyed ingénue Faye Ng (Huo Siyan) is fresh from Hangzhou and starting from zero in the local entertainment scene. First spotting Poon’s talent on a TV set, then coaxing him into becoming her mentor and manager, she opens the door to his second coming alongside her own training. As Poon plays starmaker, channelling his skills and industry knowledge into the aspiring celebrity, he starts to revisit the potential he was lauded for many years earlier.
Upbeat and able to cheer devotees of Hong Kong cinema, My Name Is Fame sees director Lau dish up light-hearted but compelling drama, even if the plotting sometimes leaves viewers hanging. The ever-present moviemaking angle makes for a welcome theme: coming as Hong Kong’s local releases drop each year, Lau’s movie brings a rallying call for sticking to one’s guns, putting in effort and striving for quality. A touch of nostalgia for older film and TV, whether coming from a shopkeeper or Poon’s former art director dad, finds an occasional voice and, with moviemaking grit for the most part toned down or skimmed by, viewers are left to take in the leads’ growing relationship.
The filmmakers’ choice of bubbly new mainland actress Huo Siyan adds to My Name Is Fame’s appeal; despite her Cantonese dubbing, she manages an air of authenticity. Huo makes a catchy Hong Kong debut, busting out fun moments of overacting and convincing as Faye rises through the ranks and enchants her teacher. Lau Ching-wan meanwhile takes on his meaty and diverse fare with aplomb, in fine form as he sinks right into Poon’s sometimes conflicted character. His onscreen filmmaking family gets extended by the likes of Wayne Lai and Tony Leung Kar-fai, who show up as mates pushing Poon to give up or urging him on, and a steady stream of cameo appearances comes as a bonus. Star spotters should have a minor field day when all manner of actors and directors turn up, whether in walk-on roles or backseat appearances – a nifty hint of realism that My Name Is Fame is all the better for having.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival