In Broad Daylight

Italian Premiere | In Competition

Guest star:
Lawrence KAN, director
Rachel Leung, actress


A damning picture of Hong Kong’s care-home crisis and a reminder on the value of a healthy press feature in Lawrence Kan’s In Broad Daylight. The story takes place in 2015 when, after getting an anonymous tip-off, newspaper journalist Ling Hiu-kay (Jennifer Yu) goes undercover at Rainbow Bridge Care Home. The for-profit centre for the elderly and people with disabilities is unlicensed, yet the Social Welfare Department lets it run on an exemption certificate as Hong Kong has too few care-home beds for the needy.

Posing as the granddaughter of resident Chow Kin-tung (David Chiang), Kay volunteers in the home and meets those under the responsibility of warden Cheung Kim-wah (Bowie Lam). In the warren of rooms, the journo finds the place chronically understaffed – tenant Sam (Peter Chan) prepares the meals and just two full-time nurses handle up to 80 people – and she spots signs of appalling mistreatment.

Back at her office, the newsroom editor (Chu Pak-him) pushes Kay and her teammates to find bulletproof evidence before anything goes to print. Aim at the system, he says, and make it hard for officials to call it an isolated incident. But there’s a race against time for the investigative desk, as they’ll likely be the first to go when budget cuts hit the newspaper. With key Rainbow Bridge residents having severe mental disability, including youngsters Ling and Ming (Rachel Leung and Henick Chou, both excellent), assembling a firm case will be tough.

Kan based In Broad Daylight on 2016 news reports, and the topics have worsened since then. The care-home shortage is acute given Hong Kong’s rapidly ageing society, exacerbated in the past few years with large numbers of young people emigrating and birth rates dropping further. There were just 120 government-subvented care homes in the city of nearly 7.5 million in 2022. Faced with yearslong waiting lists for these preferred centres, many look elsewhere, including privately run facilities with shoddy services. The snag is that shutting down the worst places isn’t an easy fix. As Sam puts it, “There’re not enough care homes in Hong Kong. We’d be homeless if they stuck to the rules.” In Broad Daylight’s journalism angle is no less topical in today’s Hong Kong. Recent years have seen several print and online news outlets forced to close and media workers arrested, while reporters at other newsrooms tread carefully with sensitive topics and have fewer sources speaking up. Many in the public have meanwhile come to believe YouTube talking heads – with wildly varying quality – are an adequate current-affairs alternative. Less than a decade on from when the film is set, some may see In Broad Daylight’s already struggling journalists as an idealistic fourth estate of the past.

Despite the heavy topics, director Kan doesn’t just lunge in with a sledgehammer. Scenes of abuse, torment and legal frustration are clearly hard-hitting, but Kan and his production team also open up characters in scenes of community and family. Much of the cast are accomplished veterans and leading young actors, and Kan’s use of cramped spaces – bedrooms, a car, a café booth – keep interactions close and intimate.

Kan has expressed hope that In Broad Daylight could make an impact on society. Well, it has certainly seized the attention it needs for that. The film came third in the 2023 local- film chart, scored Best Actress for Jennifer Yu in the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, and with 16 nominations became the front runner in this April’s Hong Kong Film Awards, ensuring even more visibility among the public.

Tim Youngs
Film director: Lawrence KAN
Year: 2023
Running time: 106'
Country: Hong Kong
25/04 - 11:15 AM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
25-04-2024 11:15 25-04-2024 13:01Europe/Rome In Broad Daylight Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine