Xilu xiang (Little Cheung) (1999)




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Fruit Chan continues his informal trilogy about life in post-handover Hong Kong, which began with the edgy Made in Hong Kong (1997) and continued with his gangster epic The Longest Summer (1998). The film's story is told from the point of view of Little Cheung (Yiu Yuet-ming) a mischievous nine-year-old with a burning desire to make a buck. When not in school, Cheung delivers food from his family's restaurant to some of the seedier parts of his Hong Kong neighborhood, servicing establishments ranging from whorehouses to mahjongg parlors. His family consists of his father, a gruff Chinese patrician; his down-to-earth mother; his grandmother, who dreams longingly of her past as a dancer; and the family's Filipino maid, who sends much of her money to her husband in Manila. When Fan, a girl roughly his age, is refused a job at his father's restaurant, Cheung immediately hires her to help him make deliveries in exchange for half her tips, and they soon become close friends. As the film progresses, Cheung learns more about his family, including that he has an older brother he has never met who is now a reputed gangster. He also learns that his grandmother, who has instilled in him a healthy respect for traditional Cantonese values, previously traveled with renowned Chinese opera star Tang Wing-chueng. Meanwhile, Fan's family, illegal immigrants from mainland China, get deported. Immediately following the handover, Cheung sets out to look for his long-lost brother. This film won the Silver Leopard from the 2000 Locarno Film Festival and was screened at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi


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