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Ngai Choi Lam
The tragic story of Fat Cat, a mentally retarded man who endures the mistreatment of the local villagers, and Koko, the idealistic social worker who tries to give him a better life. Koko's battle against ignorance and apathy on Fat Cat's behalf takes its toll on them both. Written by
Leigh Melton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is not a film to cheer you up. Erik Cheng won a Hong Kong Film Award as Best Actor for his performance as Fat Cat, a mentally retarded man living in poverty with his widowed mother. Olivia Cheng portrays the social worker on her first case who is put through the wringer trying to believe in a system which is failing all around her. While she has the best of intentions, her efforts seem doomed to fail, as she has to fight both the staggering caseload of the system, the ignorance of the villagers who both fear and torment Fat Cat, and the apathy of her boss/boyfriend (a small role played by Chow Yun-Fat).
Even though there are comedic touches, the dual storylines of the genial retarded man suffering at the hands of the government and local punks coupled with the social worker's irresponsible bum of a father (played briefly but poignantly by Paul Chu Kong) being a burden to everyone around him is almost unbearable. Watching this film is almost a struggle, as it brings home all too clearly the misfortunes of the characters and their pain. Having said that, to see Kent Cheng act in this film, no matter how depressing, is a wonder. The mother's deathbed scene is an exquisite portrayal that can't be obscured by tears.
Those who are only looking to see Chow Yun-Fat may want to give this one a miss, but if you have the heart, watch it for Kent Cheng's incredible talents.
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