Let's Love Hong Kong (2003)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2009-03-13
“Let’s Love Hong Kong” is a movie about differing realities. Chan is a performer on an underground/interactive television show in which she dresses provocatively and strikes suggestive poses for the gratification of her (presumably) all female audience. It asks but does not answer the question if Chan more real to Nicole, who knows her as a TV image but who schedules much of her free time around Nicole's appearances and who has turned her flat into a Sapphic masturbatorium with no fewer than seven screens bringing in the show or to Zero, who stalks her, following her home but who only gets close enough to be rejected. Two others who interact with parts of Chan are her mother who takes care of her while teaching her how to deal with marriage, lessons that Chan will never use, and a Mainland prostitute who Chan pays for sex and the one person with whom she has a straightforward and uncomplicated relationship.

Powerful images of loneliness in crowds, the isolation of modern urban life and the marginalization of gay sexuality fill the movie. The only thing the lead characters have in common—other than their estrangement from each other and those around them—comes when they watch television and the filmmaker cuts among them while they watch the same TV drama, contrasting their standard of living and lifestyles. Chan lives in a crowded apartment with her mother—they sleep in bunk beds with Chan in the top bunk and she occasionally comes down to her mother’s narrow bed to take comfort in her sleeping presence. Nicole is an executive who takes cabs and has a large flat to herself while Zero, who survives by selling anything she can get her hands on—love potions, cell phones, apartments that she doesn’t own—lives where she can.

This was the first experience in front of the camera for two of the three leading actresses and they acquit themselves very well. There is a long scene on the subway where Zero finally approaches Chan having shadowed her for days. Chan is uncomfortable while Zero is full of confidence. Wong Chung-Ching as Chan is especially good here, attracted by something in Zero that keeps her from running away while still holding back, inching away on subway seat but not getting up, not really responding to Zero's lines but not telling her to go away. To underling both the isolation and interdependence of Chan, Zero and Nicole, the scene on the subway is intercut with shots of Nicole masturbating to Chan's image.

“Let’s Love Hong Kong” was shot on video, very often with a hand held camera which create sense of immediacy and impermanence in the audience. Scenes of Zero late at night standing on a very crowded sidewalk with two unending streams of pedestrians flowing past her small, temporary stand while she tries to hawk cheap trinkets to gullible Mainlanders are particularly well served—you feel that Zero could simply vanish into thin air and none of the hundreds of people walking past would notice.

Difficult to recommend as such, this movie seems to be a reflection by Yau Ching on Hong Kong, its effect on its residents and tenuous place in China and the world.
Reviewer Score: 4