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Young Ahmed
e353e7ec-992a-4aa7-b3f5-40fd9f1967b9.png Friday March 6th, 2020
Made-In-Hong-Kong.jpg?sha=f4fef0025a42abb1
Fruit Chan 1997 108 min DCP
2:00pm 4:30pm 7:00pm 9:30pm

A lime-green color palette combined with artsy jump cuts will, for me, always conjure a set of blissed-out 1990s Garnier Fructis commercials. The kind of health and optimism they exude, the models obnoxiously implying "We are young, beautiful, cosmopolitan Europeans and the world belongs to us," is diametrically opposed to the use to which these visual markers are put in Fruit Chan's nihilistic juvenile delinquent tragedy Made in Hong Kong (1997), which appropriates these Western triumphalist aesthetics in the service of a tale of desperate love and class war in a post-colonial territory about to be absorbed by the last remaining Communist world power.

From the first frame, we are in a thoroughly globalized cultural environment. Aside from frequent references to triads, there isn't much in Made in Hong Kong that couldn't have happened in any other global metropolis; it needs its title just tell us that it was in fact not made in Taipei or Rio de Janeiro. Gauging by the ubiquity of posters for Natural Born Killers, My Own Private Idaho, Leon: The Professional, and the 1992 Dream Team, the characters could be Americanized youths anywhere. But while the locale is prey to cultural imperialism, the time period is absolutely unmistakable. Our protagonist, sinewy young thug Autumn Moon (Sam Lee), pairs a tight mock turtleneck with huge swishy pants, orange Arnette wraparounds with a white Nike visor, and tartan creepers with a massive North Face fannypack. Couple all that with Chan's affinity for fisheye lenses and cheesy timelapses and it doesn't get much more nineties than this.

But Made in Hong Kong is more than just a harkening to the era of chokers and butterfly clips. It confronts the heavy sensation of futurelessness felt not only by youths in post-handover Hong Kong but by anyone to whom late capitalism seems inescapable. Bleak assessments of the state of things, like "The world is a total mess," "The world's coming to an end,"and "It's all hypocrisy," are spoken with the matter-of-factness of observations about the weather. Susan (Ka-Chuen Tam) and Moon both make alarmingly strong cases for suicide, and Chan's directorial voice seems to support their argument. The film has an ultra-ironic coda in which a chipper People's Radio of Hong Kong announcer introduces a speech by Mao on China's youth being synonymous with its future. But "the youth's" stated position is quite different. To wit: "If we die young, we'll be forever young." Ouch.

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Johnny Mnemonic
Robert Longo 1995 96 min
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Nam June Paik 1986 31 min
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Brett Leonard 1995 106 min
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Jon Rafman 2017 16 min
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Corneliu Porumboiu 2019 97 min DCP
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Carmen and Geoffrey
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Bong Joon-ho 2019 131 min
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Stanley Kubrick 1980 146 min DCP
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Quentin Tarantino 1994 154 min DCP
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Tim Burton 2001 119 min 35mm
12:10am
James McTeigue 2005 132 min DCP
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Carlo Mirabella-Davis 2020 94 min DCP
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David Lynch 1986 121 min DCP
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Fruit Chan 1997 108 min DCP
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder 1972 124 min DCP
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Jan Komasa 2019 116 minutes min DCP
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Levan Akin 2019 113 min DCP
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D.W. Young 2019 99 min DCP
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12:15pm 2:30pm 4:45pm 7:00pm* 9:20pm
Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne 2019 84 min DCP
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Horace Jenkins 1982 90 min DCP
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Sande N. Johnsen 1966 72 min Digital Video
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