Monday, April 26, 2010

Charm Strikes Out in Hong Kong

I tucked in my shirt, smiled, and went back into the Celestial Pictures office but I can't say my results were stellar (pun intended). Read on.

A woman came out to greet me -- I use the term "greet" loosely -- and she said there was not much to tour there in Celestial Pictures -- "just office" and that the company had moved out of the old Clear Water Bay facility -- which I suspected -- so there was not much to tour at the old studios either.

(But where are all those props and costumes? Where is that stuff?)

So, I tried to explain how many people want more Shaw titles on DVD -- how Americans like me have purchased all region DVD players just to watch this stuff; how fans want the musicals and dramas and comedies languishing in the vaults out on DVD -- and she explained that it was up to IVL. That's more or less the point I was getting from her: that DVDs would come out again if only for IVL. Or something.

Now, I realize that I showed up uninvited and unannounced, but am I asking too much for some simple curiosity about my interest in the films? I mean, would it have killed her to show some sign of being impressed that an American took the time to travel to the office just to learn more about the products that they were putting out on DVD?

Even when I said something about friends reviewing these titles -- her products! -- on various websites, there was not a sign of interest or happiness that someone was so enthusiastic about these films.

Geez, the girls at the McDonald's in Festival Walk were more friendly!

I didn't expect a hero's welcome but some little expression of "I am glad you like our films" or "I'm glad so many people are buying these titles" would have made my day.

It wasn't a total loss as she did present me with the book you see below.

I use the word "book" as she called the thing a product catalogue but, as you can see, it's closer to a small coffeetable book. If you stuck a $40US price tag on this thing, put it on a shelf at Border's, I would buy it and so would a lot of the regular readers of this site.

So I thank her for that but, truth be told, I would have traded this book for a bit more appreciation, or simply surprise, that a fan made an effort to get to that office.

I've spent more than 30 days in Hong Kong this last year, and that's not counting the week I have left. And while I'm not quite homesick or anxious for the trip to end, I'm in a bit of a bad mood sometimes.

I just feel a bit tired of fighting the crowds to get anywhere; tired of so many people being in such a hurry and yet not walking too fast to get there in the MTR; sick of almost having my arm and shopping bag ripped off in the subway as I tried to squeeze onto the train after a guy with an enormous suitcase.

The effort of going anywhere is not so much fun now, no matter how nice the shopping and living spaces are sometimes.

I need to go somewhere fun and soon -- Lamma Island could quite possibly recharge my batteries, I think.

Anyway, I decided to make a stop at Festival Walk as there was one more location of the Hong Kong Records chain in that mall.

Of course, the store doesn't open until 11:30 AM which means I had to kill time in McDonald's -- at least those kids in there were nice to me!

And, all-in-all, the trip was worth it as I found a few titles I needed, including one, Crocodile River (1964), that I don't think I've ever even heard of before despite being Lo Wei's first film as a director.

Festival Walk mall is near Kowloon Tong and the City University of Hong Kong and I was digging that entrace -- a far cry from that dumb turtle mascot I had to walk past at the University of Maryland.

As the sweat was rolling down my back, and my shirt coming untucked, and the thought of picking up my laundry looming in my mind, I decided to eat lunch at the food court again.

This time, I picked the Korean place and I have to say that this was not bad. A bit oily but not bad for $8US. It was supposed to be soup OR soda but I think I misunderstood the lady and she smiled and gave me the soup anyway.