Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Being A Tourist in Hong Kong

I almost wasn't going to do this post because it seemed so obvious and boring, but why not? After all, this kind of adolescent star worship was the impetus of my wanting to go to Hong Kong for nearly 8 years.

I went to England largely because of rock bands and musical history, so it's okay if I went to Hong Kong because of film history, right?

So, I landed on a Tuesday evening and felt exhausted with a tiny bit of fear creeping into my soul that maybe I wasn't up to exploring Hong Kong in the August heat.

I decided to just go to bed -- the airline fed us about one hour before landing -- and after the excitement of the flight and my near-quarantine at the airport (another story for another time), I was sleepy and not too hungry.

I set out for the Avenue of Stars the next morning.

This was going to be exactly the sort of mini-adventure I needed to remind myself of why I was in Hong Kong in the first place. If I was feeling a tiny bit of culture shock, this would jolt me out of that.

I'm not going to bore everyone with all of my photos from this simple walk but I would like to highlight the ones that made me pause and which reminded me of why I love Hong Kong and its cinema.

First, Brigitte Lin. Yes, she's Taiwanese but she's a legend of Hong Kong cinema. I spent a few years early in my viewing career reading these reviews on Brian's site and a lot of those were written by the woman behind one of my current favorite blogs. Brigitte's Garbo-like grace combined with her martial prowess (at least on film) seemed to dominate my mind during my early forays into Hong Kong cinema.

Next, a Vietnamese/Chinese/American writer/producer/director who convinced me to give Hong Kong cinema another chance after first being bored with the films of John Woo and the silliness of 1990's era Jackie Chan.

Speaking of Jackie Chan, here's his gift shop on the Avenue of Stars. I bet this is one of the only places in the world where a poster of The Tuxedo is so prominently displayed (you can almost see it in my amateurish picture).

After catching up on the films of Tsui Hark and Brigitte Lin (among many others), one of the first current stars that I gravitated towards was Cecilia Cheung. I miss her presence on the screen and, even though I've only been heavily into Hong Kong cinema for a little under 9 years, I feel like that's been long enough to see the rise and fall -- though hopefully that's just temporary! -- of a major star. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was reading Kozo's reviews and excitedly buying import DVDs of stuff like Para Para Sakura!

(Yeah, yeah, it's no masterpiece but Ceci made it watchable for this smitten fan!)

And, finally, forget the film stars and look at this skyscape! Did I first venture out in Hong Kong on a beautiful morning or what?