A set of four short films commissioned and produced by the Hong Kong Film Festival on the theme “Beautiful 2012” from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
In You Are More Than Beautiful, Kim Tae Yong’s installment in the series, Korean star Park Hee Soon plays a man whose hospitalized father is dying. To satisfy his father’s last wish, he hires a vivacious actress (Gong Hyo Jin) to play his visiting fiancée. The ruse works too well when the father, though comatose, manages quite unnervingly to connect with her. The film is capped by her stunning bedside performance of a traditional Korean opera aria.
Tsai Ming-liang’s Walker, a short masterpiece, is both minimal and maximum cinema. There are just a handful of long takes, each showing a bright red-robed Lee Kang-sheng (Tsai’s actor fétiche) as a bald bare-foot monk, walking as slowly as possible through various locations in Hong Kong. Watched by passersby, he radiates his own intense solitary space. Mysterious, ineffable—and as simple and as profound as cinema can be.
Chinese fifth generation director Gu Changwei’s brilliant semi-experimental hybrid of documentary and fiction, Long Tou, is one of the best things he’s done. In muted vintage colours, a man drags a dragon tail of empty plastic jugs through traffic; a cat prowls Beijing alleyways; intellectuals sit in shadows smoking, discussing past and present horrors; bubbles float enigmatically; the world burns…
Prize-winning director Ann Hui, in My Way, gives one of Hong Kong’s best actors, Francis Ng, an opportunity for a virtuoso performance as a man preparing for sex reassignment surgery. Simultaneously flamboyant and subtle, this tribute to transgendered identity fuses melodrama and realism, fearlessly crossing boundaries with uncompromising compassion.
— Shelly Kraicer