Hong Kong Women Filmmakers

Feature of July: The Bobo Nature under Feminism –The Film of Wong Chen Chen (Hong Kong Film Critics Society)

Source: http://www.filmcritics.org.hk/%E9%9B%BB%E5%BD%B1%E8%A9%95%E8%AB%96/%E6%9C%83%E5%93%A1%E5%BD%B1%E8%A9%95/feature-july-bobo-nature-under-feminism-%E2%80%93-film-wong-chen-chen

Feature of July: The Bobo Nature under Feminism –The Film of Wong Chen Chen

From Women’s Private Parts to Truth or Dare: 6th Floor, Rear Flat, I am further convinced that Wong Chen Chen is a utilitarian director, by that I mean the subject matter under her camera is but a means to an end, its nature or content does not mean much to her. Truth is being promoted as a film about young people’s lifestyle and the pursuit of their personal dreams. The irony is, it is precisely these parts that have been hollowed out. Take Karena Lam and Lawrence Chou’s characters for instance, they are supposed to be the two among the six that have realized their dreams: the former finally has her book 6th Floor, Rear Flat published, and the latter finally got to kiss Karena. But we never get to see their striving process: Karena Lam’s “writing” is confined to typing away on the computer, and Lawrence Chou never reveals himself.

From these we can see the utilitarian motive of this film, and that the director never really cares about the world of the young. Hence we can see the massive intrusion of adult norms and ideologies, such as Teresa Caprio hints that there are different ideals at different stages of life by belting out Beyond’s song, or Lawrence Cheng, as an invisible mentor, emails excerpts of Nietzche to Karena. By such it is revealed that the world of the young is rather narrow, and they are but repeating what their predecessors have done before, an “eternal” stage of growing up, and that, they will grow up. Hence, they are measured by a set of exterior standards: in the film, the publication of a book or CD always needs the support of the adult world (the publisher or record company) and quite forgets that real youthful dreams can be realized independently (private publication for private collection). romantic fantasy of the adults. In the film, the ones who pull the strings are a

I think that is where the embarrassment of this film lies: a supposedly youth film is actually made to please the adult audience. The voice of Lawrence Cheng represents the most transparent adult lie. He intrudes into Karena Lam’s life as her mentor, and she subsequently has a romantic fantasy about him. This is in fact the dults occupying different positions: publishing house executive, record company hot shot and the rich mum. If the young want to realize their dreams, they first have to win their approval. More importantly, the film reveals the Bobo mentality – the combination of the bourgeois and bohemian preference — of the power that be in the media. The Lawrence Cheng character of course is a bourgeois, and what he describes a “game” with Karena Lam is an attraction by her cultural malleability (bohemian nature) and the enjoyment of the subtle flirtation. In other words, the desire of having the cake and eat it too, and the desire of controlling others, including the youthful dreams of the young. By applying the logic of reverse thinking, it explains why the young in the film all have breaking into the establishment as their ultimate goal—it is the projected sense of value of the film’s creators: those who are now the bourgeois want to relive the bohemian life, albeit as a momentary fantasy; those still the bohemian desperately want to get into the establishment, to taste the ecstasy of power.

By Tong Ching Sui

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