Tsang, Tsui-shan Jessey – Critical Biography Top
Jessey Tsang studied sound design at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts’s School of Film and Television before she entered the MFA program in Media Design and Technology at the City University of Hong Kong. After graduating in 2005, she worked towards realizing her first feature film project – the indie production Lovers on the Road (2008). The film follows a young girl (Joman Chiang) from Hong Kong who moves to Beijing in order to be with her boyfriend (Dick So). Once there, however, she finds their relationship strained, and she begins to prefer the company of a Japanese traveler (Masanobu Otsuka) whom she meets by chance. The film made effective use of its Beijing locations, and critics reacted positively to its refreshingly low-key aesthetic and the understated performances of the principals. To admirers of the film, Tsang seemed to offer an honest and unaffected portrait of youth free from the glamour and trappings of the commercial film industry, and her talent was quickly noted.
Tsang’s second feature, Big Blue Lake (2011), shares some of the same qualities of understatement and directness that critics responded to in her debut work. Partly autobiographical, the film tells the story of a young woman (Leila Tong) who returns to her native village (Ho Chung Village in Sai Kung) after having lived abroad for many years. There she encounters her childhood friend Chun (Lawrence Chou) and attempts to re-establish connections with the village and its residents, in part through interviewing them about their folk rituals and traditions. Tsang herself is a native of Ho Chung village, where the film was shot. She endows the film with a certain sense of personal intimacy, as well as a strong sense of attachment to place that is both evocative and nostalgic.
Tsang’s fascination with the history of Ho Chung village extended into her next project, the documentary Flowing Stories (2014), in which Tsang appears onscreen tracing the family history of her childhood neighbors, the Laus. They are a traditional Hakka family that began to be dispersed around the globe as generation after generation migrated abroad. Tsang visits Paris, Calais, Edinburgh, and London in search of members of the Lau family, while interviewing aged matriarch Lau Yu Tam-kiu, whom today remains a resident of Ho Chung village. Notably, the film was edited by filmmaker Mary Stephen, who also served as the film’s associate producer. Flowing Stories screened at the 2014 Hong Kong International Film Festival, where it was greeted with some critical acclaim.
Tsang’s most recent feature, Scent (2014), is a contemporary romance shot in mainland China, starring popular Korean actor Park Si-Hoo and Chinese actress Chen Ran.
|Director||Flowing Stories (Trailer)||河上變村||2014|
|Big Blue Lake (Trailer)||大藍湖||2011|
|Producer||Dead Slowly (Trailer)||慢性中毒||2009|
|Director||Lovers on the Road (Trailer)||戀人路上||2008|
|Producer||Too Alone (Trailer)||—||2013|
|Director||Love More Hong Kong (Full movie)||午後公園@你還可愛麼||2011|
|Director||The Life and Times of Ho Chung Village (Trailer)||河上風光||2010|
|Director||Ou est la sortie?||楓丹白露||2007|
Flowing Stories (2014) Reviews:
Big Blue Lake (2011) Reviews:
Far East Films:
Film Business Asia:
Love HK Film:
Time Out Hong Kong:
Lovers on the Road (2008) Reviews:
Eastern Kicks – Interview with Jessey Tsang:
YouTube – Interview with Jessey Tsang:
Facebook page of Jessey Tsang:
- Chu, Kiu-wai. “Big Blue Lake: River in Ho Chung Village, Sai Kungm New Territories.” World Film Locations: Hong Kong. Ed. Linda Chiu-Han Lai and Kimburley Wing-Yee Cho. Bristol: Intellect Ltd, 2013. 100-101.
- Yee, Winnie L. M. . “Hong Kong’s Liminal Spaces: Unveiling Nature and Identity in Tsang Tsui-shan’s Big Blue Lake.” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media 55.Fall (2013). 26 August 2014. <http://ejumpcut.org/archive/jc55.2013/YeeBigBlueLake/index.html>.