Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Besieged city [Wai sing - 2008]

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Director: Lawrence Lau

Lawrence Lau (aka Lawrence Ah Mon) is without a doubt one of Hong Kong's best and most under-appreciated directors, specializing in gutter-trawling tales of down-and-out youth frittering their lives away in an endless orgy of petty crime and street hustles. GANGS, SPACKED OUT and QUEEN OF TEMPLE STREET are all essential parts of the Hong Kong canon (especially QUEEN OF TEMPLE STREET about a brothel madam dealing with her out-of-control teenage daughter; it's a movie that deserves the Criterion treatment). He still directs like a madman, with Lau Ching-wan's MY NAME IS FAME as his latest highest-profile movie, but he also recently made A CITY WITHOUT BASEBALL which was released in November, 2007.
His newest film is BESIEGED CITY about kids going berserk in the Tin Shui Wai housing development, one of the towns built out in the middle of the New Territories that wound up becoming traps for their residents as much as they provided affordable housing. Mei Ah, the film's distributor has high hopes for the film and although it's not slated to be released in Hong Kong until March, 2008 they held a one-day qualifying run so it could be nominated for the Hong Kong Film Awards. A sharp-eyed reader found out about the screening and here's their report, right from the front lines.

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