You shi tiaowu (The Island Tales)

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Renowned director Stanley Kwan spins this parable about post-handover Hong Kong, the second in a trilogy about the former colony that began with Hold You Tight (1998). Inspired from the 1998 "bird flu" that killed several people and prompted authorities to order the wholesale slaughter of that city's chickens, this film centers on seven disparate people trapped on an island because of a government quarantine. The film opens with Haruki (Takao Osawa), a Japanese writer suffering from consumption, trying to write his next novel. Other characters that populate the film include Sharon (Michele Reis), a lesbian Chinese-American businesswoman who lived on the island as a child, Sharon's married Japanese friend Marianne (Kaori Momoi), and party girl Mei Ling (played by former pin-up model Shu Qi), who came to the island to meet a Brit with whom she shacked up the night before. Also, there is young actor Han (Julian Cheung), hailing from Hong Kong, and Bo (Gordon Liu) the gay middle-aged manager of the island's hotel. After the aforementioned people cross paths, news comes that the government has stopped all traffic to and from the island for an indefinite period of time in order to prevent the spread of the "stone virus." As the long night wears on, the inhabitants have little to do except wait and talk. Soon they begin to reveal more and more of themselves. This film was screened at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi


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