As a Canadian citizen and a Hong Kong resident, Simon Chung makes films that truly represent his dual culture. With over thirteen years of filmmaking experience and numerous awards, he is also one of the artists most consistently represented at Reel Asian (Life is Elsewhere and Stanley Beloved were shown at the second Reel Asian, while First Love and Other Pains screened a year later). In the context of his newest film Innocent, these shorts throw a sharp relief upon his themes of race, cultural confusion and sexual identity. As a pioneer in queer independent Asian cinema, we gladly salute him with this retrospective.
Life Is Elsewhere
Simon Chung | Hong Kong | 1996 | Video | 14:00
An award-winner at both the Image Forum Festival in Japan and the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards, this lyrical early work from Simon Chung reveals the thematic concerns that he would continue to explore in his later films. A young boy’s nervous encounter with his headmaster, a teenager’s unexpected reunion with his mother and a policeman’s special assignment are all common slices of life in transient Hong Kong. Everyone wants to get away, but perhaps the grass is always greener …
First Love and Other Pains
Simon Chung | Hong Kong | 1999 | 35MM | 50:00
This time, race is not the only factor in this cross-cultural love story between a university professor and his student. In post-colonial Hong Kong, Hugh Graham is a frustrated English intellectual teaching mostly gay literature to his bewildered pupils. Middle-aged and stuck in a personal crisis of gigantic proportions, he nevertheless attracts the attention of Mark, a young local who is smitten with the professor’s lectures. What begins is a complex relationship marked with Freudian psyche, cultural barriers and personal addiction – a subtle allegory for the twilight of the British colonial past and the dawn of Chinese rule in Hong Kong.
Simon Chung | Hong Kong | 1997 | 16MM | 20:00
Named after a seaside town located at the southern shore of Hong Kong, this small enclave is where two close friends, Jaime and Kevin, spend their lazy summer together. One a Caucasian and the other of mixed race, they grew up in upper class households – families with the means to further their educations abroad. Simon Chung paints a realistic and sensitive portrayal of adolescents at their crossroads, with questions of race, class and sexual identity constantly hovering in the horizon along with their unknown future.
Director in attendance