Starring: Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching, Veronica Yip Yuk-Hing, Tou Chung-Wah, Chan Kwok-Bong, Law Kar-Ying, Tsui Kam-Kong, Julie Lee Wah-Yuet
Director: Chin Man-Kei
This wannabe war drama is compelling at times, but what film about stuff like this isn't? Hong Kong 1941 details the Japanese occupation of HK in 1941 and the effect it has on one family. Basically, a family (including sisters Chingmy Yau and Veronica Yip) is detained by the evil (and I mean evil) Japanese soldiers.
Rape, murder, and assorted unpleasantness ensues, including much that proves difficult to watch. The concentration on Japanese atrocities can be harrowing and affecting, but the glossy exploitation-like atmosphere cheapens the drama. Also, the family story is directed horribly by Chin Man-Kei, who uses crappy comedy and wacky wide-angle lenses to "involve" his audience. He has written some HK classics, but this film feels like a cheap attempt to make something meaningful. Most likely the budget was given thanks to the presence of stars like Veronica Yip and Chingmy Yau - and "commercial" concerns took over. The filmmakers went the "entertaining" route and added a bunch of stuff that never should have been included - and a lot of it is just plain tasteless and wrong. On the plus side, Chingmy Yau turns in a very strong performance, but her character feels anachronistic. This film might have had good intentions, but the direction seems to indicate otherwise.
Cantonese With English Subtitles