Far East Film Festival 20

Udine Italy April 20th/ April 28th 2018
The Film Festival For Popular Asian Cinema
Visionario, Via Asquini 33
Sunday, April 23, time 5.30 PM


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Among the most promising talents of Hong Kong cinema’s post-1997 era, director Soi Cheang has risen from making low-budget shot-on-video features to joining the ranks of big-league filmmakers. Pivotal along the way was Accident, a strong shot of Hong Kong noir produced by thriller ace Johnnie To and focused on an unusual band of killers.
What sets the group apart is their method: the four members go to great lengths to create ‘accidents’ that couldn’t possibly be seen as murder. When viewers meet them, Woman (Michelle Ye), Uncle (Stanley Fung), Fatty (Lam Suet) and leader Brain (Louis Koo) use tortuous means to wipe out a triad leader in broad daylight. The next mission should be no less difficult: a son wants the team to take out his father, and the place to do it is a tricky spot just outside the family pawn shop. Yet while the group specialise in kills that run like clockwork, things aren’t so smooth in the lead-up to this hit and its aftermath. Uncle is showing signs of losing his memory, for starters, and Brain has been wracked with paranoia since the death of his wife in a car crash. He knows full well that such an accident can be staged, and that suspicion colours his daily life and dealings with others. “We are not the only ones in this trade,” he tells his partners. “Any mistake can cost our lives.”
For much of his earlier films, including his initial three DV-shot features, Cheang devel­oped recurring themes and motifs while also building a talent for making rough-edged horror and thriller works dotted with genre-crossing diversions. With Accident, Cheang turned to a more disciplined approach to filmmaking. The script, intensely focused, strips out unnecessary dialogue and lays the groundwork for a taut and compact noir episode propelled with ever mounting tension.
The concept of killers arranging ‘accidents’ makes for a clean break from past Hong Kong hit man flicks, and the filmmakers get creative with the possibilities. Scenes of the team at work are sleek exercises in cinema staging and making mischief with regular urban fixtures, while Brain’s intense paranoia drives the film’s second half and boosts a running sense of unease. Coming from producer To’s Milkyway Image, Accident also carries the bold, stylised look of the production house’s thrillers – at once placing the film within in a distinct line of genre pictures and delving into nifty new forms.
Also strong is the casting: Louis Koo turns in one of his best performances as the nervy, deeply suspicious Brain, jettisoning the usually lighter acting style of his earlier years. Others in his team can appear similarly on edge, and each gets room to develop a dis­tinct personality. Lam Suet offers moments of gentle humour and screen veteran Stanley Fung draws sympathy as a man facing the onset of dementia, while Michelle Ye, in a role that won her Best Supporting Actress in the Hong Kong Film Awards, presents a distinctly enigmatic visage.
Following Accident’s premiere in Venice and subsequent cinema release, Cheang con­tinued to hone his direction at Milkyway Image with the subsequent Motorway (2012). Ventures into the realm of mega-budget effects-driven spectacle followed, starting with 2014’s The Monkey King and followed in its superior 2016 sequel. With both Mon­key King productions scoring top-five finishes in mainland Chinese year-end box-office charts, the versatile Cheang has earned a place among the most successful filmmakers in Hong Kong cinema’s new age of pricy co-productions.
Tim Youngs
Film director: 
Soi Cheang
Running time: 




  • Accident 00
  • Accident 01
  • Accident 02
  • Accident 03
  • Accident 04
  • Accident 05
  • Accident 06
  • Accident 07