Far Far Away

EUROPEAN PREMIERE

Far Far Away
緣路山旮旯 (Yuan Lo San Ka La)

Hong Kong, 2021, 95’, Cantonese
Directed by: Amos Why
Screenplay: Amos Why
Photography (color): Leung Ming-kai
Editing: Jefferson Lai, Key Tan
Production Design: Ivy Chan
Music Supervisors: Amos Why, Shandy Gan
Producers: Winnie Tsang, Amos Why, Teresa Kwong 
Cast: Kaki Sham (Hau), Cecilia So (A. Lee), Crystal Cheung (Fleur), Rachel Leung (Mena Man), Hanna Chan (Lisa), Jennifer Yu (Melanie), Will Or (Tai-tung), Yatho Wong (Jude Law), Ning Chan (Gigi), Peter Chan (Manager), Adam Wong (Colleague Chris)

Date of First Release in Territory: TBA 


Recently, I took a 105-question, 10-level Hong Kong geography test that has been a hot topic among netizens. The questions ranged from basic knowledge to obscure historical factoids that would trip up even those with Google ready to help. As a self-professed map geek who has lived most of his life in Hong Kong, I passed the first few rounds without breaking a sweat, but by level six I was making blind guesses. 
What this quiz exposed is how little people can know about their hometowns. Despite having a population of 7.5 million people, 70% of Hong Kong is actually sparsely populated and full of hidden spots that locals may never reach. That seems to be the creative basis of indie director Amos Why’s Far Far Away, a sincere love letter to Hong Kong that is, for better or worse, made for Hongkongers. 
Longtime supporting player Kaki Sham finally gets his first starring role as Hau, a slightly dorky 28-year-old IT geek who hasn’t been lucky in love. Through serendipity or pure chance, Hau becomes involved with five different women who all live in far-flung corners of Hong Kong – a co-worker (Cecilia So), his best friend’s very single cousin (Crystal Cheung), a woman who happens to drive the same car as him (Rachel Leung), an old high school crush (Hanna Chan) and a former university classmate (Jennifer Yu). Over the course of a year, these relationships help Hau navigate his own journey to finding his One True Love. 
Of course, placing these women in hard-to-reach corners of Hong Kong is just an excuse for Why to take audiences to those places. From a housing complex in a remote part of an outlying island to a village that is only reachable either via a ferry that runs on weekends or a two-hour hike from the nearest bus stop, these places give Far Far Away a true sense of place (and Why always has a CGI map ready for people unfamiliar with Hong Kong geography). Those who have followed Why’s career will realise that Far Far Away is a hipper, funnier thematic expansion of Dot 2 Dot, his 2014 romance about two people forging a romantic connection through exploring Hong Kong’s urban landscape and history. Though Why’s depiction of Hau’s search for love has storytelling hiccups, Far Far Away succeeds as a film that is truly about Hong Kong.
But Far Far Away is also a film about Hong Kong culture. Why’s use of hip local indie music, as well as subtle mentions of current social and pop culture trends (though it seems to be set in an alternate pandemic-less universe) show that the filmmaker has his finger on what his local audiences are thinking and talking about. Audiences who aren’t caught up on the current Hong Kong zeitgeist will see certain references fly over their heads, but that’s unavoidable as Hong Kong pop culture evolves so fast it’s hard even for locals to catch up. The sole fact that Why produced the film on a small indie budget (some of the film’s creatives opted for a share of the box office gross in lieu of salaries) to make a truly Hong Kong film for a local audience on his own terms is already worthy of respect. 
Though it’s a showcase of Sham’s potential as a romantic leading man and some of the city’s most talented young actresses, Far Far Away’s biggest attraction is ultimately Hong Kong itself. Captured beautifully by cinematographer Leung Ming-kai, Hong Kong has rarely looked more alluring. It’s a city with a rich history, beautiful sceneries and talented creatives used to working under pressure. Far Far Away may be best appreciated by locals who are in the same bandwidth as its creator, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better tourism ad than this. It should at least inspire you to look up its locations on Google Maps. 


Amos Why 

Why began his career working in local print media before moving to television, film and advertising. After years of directing television series for local broadcaster RTHK, Why made his directorial debut with partially self-funded independent drama Dot 2 Dot (2014), which earned him a nomination for Best New Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards. In 2018, he directed crime thriller Napping Kid. Far Far Away (2021) is his third feature film. 

FILMOGRAPHY

2014 – Dot 2 Dot 
2018 – Napping Kid 
2021 – Far Far Away
Kevin Ma
Film director: Amos WHY
Year: 2021
Running time: 96'
Country: Hong Kong
27/04 - 5:10 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
27-04-2022 17:10 27-04-2022 18:46Europe/Rome Far Far Away Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org

Photogallery