Made in Hong Kong (1997) is one of the independent films directed by the “grassroots director” Fruit Chan on low budget production. The cost of production was kept low by utilizing the leftover film reels and amateur actors such as Sam Lee Chan-Sam who has been awarded best New Artist in the 17th Annual Hong Kong Films Awards and nominated Best Actor in 35th Annual Golden Horse Awards. Made in Hong Kong is very much a vernacular film featuring the Hong Kong society and culture in 1997, particularly the social marginality and violence in juvenile delinquency . This paper will assess how the film expresses nation’s sentiments by portraying the livelihood of four teenagers, namely Autumn Moon, Ping, Ah Lung and Susan, and the Hong Kong social environment in 1997 during the transition of the Hong Kong Handover.
2. Literature Review
“Death and Hong Kong Cinema” written by Laikwan Pang (2009:15) explores the significance of death as a recurrent theme in Hong Kong cinema by analyzing two Hong Kong trilogies, namely the Handover trilogy and the Milkyway trilogy. Pang asserts that the four main characters in Made in Hong Kong have strived to attain individual identity before entering their adulthood yet none of them succeeded, just as the desire of Hong Kong in attaining a pure identity in the transition period of handover which the ending suggests the failure or impossibility of this ambition.
“…their death can be seen as a wilful challenge and refusal to pass through the rite of passage provided by the institution in order to remain infinitely in the enjoyment of ‘non-identity’,” says Pang (2009:19) . This statement reflects their subjectivity towards the impotency in determining the political future and defines death, an extreme ending as an avenue for the marginalized minorities to make their desires heard and recognized. She thereby implicitly suggests the inadequacy of communication between generations that one has no choice but to terminate life in order to be heard.
In short, an important conclusion drawn by Pang upon the film is that the Hong Kong’s identity in post 1997 can never be acquired, just as the voices of the four protagonists are heard only after their deaths, be it in the suicide notes written by Susan or monolog by Moon. The quest of identity and significance of death in the film have been justified in the paper.
Based on the analysis of the protagonists’ livelihood showcased in the film, this paper will investigate how the film depicts the social environment in the transition period that lead them to all kind of sentiments such as desperation, anxiety and depression and subsequently termination of life.
3. Critical analysis
Made in Hong Kong being the first film of Chan’s “Handover Trilogy” depicts the realistic living circumstances of Hong Kong population in 1997 during the critical moment of transition, reveals their emotions during this period and gives subtle perspective on this major event in...