Thursday, September 08, 2011

Hong Kong Cinema: Merry-Go-Round

Yesterday I saw a preview screening of Merry-Go-Round, the opening night film for the San Francisco Film Society's up-coming Hong Kong Cinema festival. 2 woman living in present-day San Francisco travel to Hong Kong in very different circumstances & on very different missions. Gradually their paths cross & 2 romances play out, one modern & one reaching back to the 1930s. The movie unfolds at an unhurried pace as a series of disclosures to the audience. It's a luxuriously overgrown film, with several tendrils that take a while to get to the ends of. Characters' emotional states are revealed through hyper-realistic settings, & the movie is rich in camera set ups. The short prologue establishing the 2 women's lives in San Francisco must have been shot in at least 25 locations. The love story is carried by sequences in which characters look pensive while someone on the soundtrack sings to the simple accompaniment of the guitar. I was distracted by the film's strangely under-populated Hong Kong (a huge hospital has only one patient) & the unaccounted passage of time that allows characters to have aged barely 40 years since World War II.

§ Merry-Go-Round (2010)
Directed by Clement Cheng & Yan Yan Mak
124 min. In Cantonese with subtitles

Plays September 23 & 24 as part of Hong Kong Cinema

§ Hong Kong Cinema festival, September 23–25
San Francisco Film Society
New People Cinema

§ Photo credit: Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

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