Hong Kong, 2011
North American Premiere
99 minutes, in Cantonese with English subtitles
Directed by: Jeff Lau
Starring: Eason Chan, Karen Mok, Ekin Cheng, Crystal Huang, Kenny Bee, William So
For personal reasons, director/writer Jeff Lau has canceled his plans to attend this screening. Our apologies.
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Wednesday, July 4 @ 3:30pm (buy tickets)
Jeff Lau is the comedy genius you’ve never heard of. Responsible for Stephen Chow’s breakthrough movie (All for the Winner), he collaborated with Wong Kar-wai on many of his movies (Chungking Express, Ashes of Time, Fallen Angels), and either wrote or produced many of Hong Kong’s classic films (Fong Sai Yuk, Saviour of the Soul). When Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time took forever to shoot, Lau “saved his ass” as he puts it, by taking the same cast and shooting a parody version of the script to fulfill Wong’s contract with his increasingly angry investors (it’s called Eagle Shooting Heroes and it is intensely strange). Lau’s movies are crammed with time travel, amnesia, reincarnation, in-jokes, bad puns, slapstick, musical numbers, and sublimely ridiculous action scenes. They move a mile a minute, and they’re so romantic that they can sometimes make the audience blush, but they have two things going for them: he gets great performances out of his actors, and minute-by-minute they’re the funniest films being made today.
In EAST MEETS WEST 2011, Karen Mok plays a cynical punk whose dad is Kenny Bee, former guitarist of Hong Kong Seventies supergroup, The Wynners (played by the actual Kenny Bee, former guitarist of Hong Kong Seventies supergroup, The Wynners). Bee is broke, reduced to working as a zombie in a haunted house. Then his second wife, Crystal, goes on the run after embezzling all the money fronted by a slick businessman (played by Eason Chan) for a Wynners reunion concert. Karen and Kenny head to China to rescue her, and there they discover that they, along with five other strangers, are the reincarnation of the superpowered Seven Heavenly Dragons of Chinese legend, who reunite every few centuries to battle the eighth dragon, the evil Yaksha. And now, Yaksha is on the move.
Sending up Batman, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Cinderella, Donnie Yen movies, the cult of celebrity, organized religion, and playing “Happy Together” by The Turtles more times than is strictly healthy, this is a movie full of stop-on-a-dime tone shifts that go from slapstick to heartbreak in seconds. Underneath the frenetic, fast-talking jokes that take being super stupid to the level of a super science, it’s also a romance about the human desire to be loved, no matter how ridiculous it makes you look. Exhausting and exhilarating, you won’t see a movie this manic all year.