23 November 2003 | harry_tk_yung
St. Elmo's Fire, Hong Kong style
Talented Karena Lam shines again in 2003, demonstrating her versatility in two movies directed, coincidentally, each by a 'new new-wave' (I coined) Hong Kong woman director. Floating Landscape (see my separate comments on which) I think very highly of. Not reaching quite the same height, Truth or Dare - 6th Floor Rear Flat nevertheless has its own charm. Following the footsteps of the mid-eighties genre of Big Chill, Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's fire, this movie paints a vivid sketch of Hong Kong's twentysomethings, their ups and downs, their hopes and fears, their innocence and experience (in William Blake's context).
The story revolves around 6 flat mates daring each other to accomplish within one year something they write down on a piece of paper, unknown to each other, and put in a sealed bottle. Although there are six of them, the story focuses largely on the two girls, a yet-to-prove-herself writer played by Karena Lam and a nothing-to-prove tarot-reader Candy Lo. Taking this to another layer, Lam has proved herself again and again, in the last couple of years. Acting comes so naturally to her that the word 'talented' doesn't have much meaning any longer. Candy Lo, on the other hand, tries quite hard in this role of a rather smart-Alex tomboy, a very different role from the faithful, hugely pregnant wife of a gangster in Seunlau Ngaklau (literal translation 'downstream, upstream'). Apparently, her effort hasn't gone unnoticed as she has been nominated for an award in an upcoming Taiwan film festival. American educated director Barbara Wong brings to this movie a breath of freshness not often seen in typical Hong Kong movies. Highly recommended.