Thursday, July 10, 2014
There are two Pang Ho-cheungs. One is the shock comedian who gave us Vulgaria, about a film director who may or may not have had sex with a mule. The other is a more reflective director who draws surprisingly complex performances out of his cast in films like the father-daughter drama Isabella. It’s the second Pang who takes the helm of Aberdeen, a ensemble family comedy-drama in which characters who would be caricatures in lesser hands ripen into three-dimensional people. There’s Tao (pop-star Louis Koo, Golden Chickensss), who believes that physical looks are all that matter in life and whose daughter has been born less than glam. How could this be when his wife, Ceci (Gigi Leung), is a model? But even she is facing competition from younger girls as she approaches 40. There’s the family patriarch, a fisherman-turned-Taoist-priest (Ng Man-tat); and Wai-ching (Miriam Yeung), a tour guide whose husband, Eric Tsang, is cheating on her with one of his nurses. It could have been an insufferable yuppie melodrama without Pang’s magic-realist touch that gives the story grace notes like whale sightings, kaiju rampages, and unexploded WWII bombs found in the center of downtown Hong Kong. Part of HONG KONG FOREVER! Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York.