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Xilu xiang (1999)

In 1997, Little Cheung is a street-wise nine-year-old boy living in a bustling neighbourhood of Hong Kong, just before the reunification with China. His parents are always working at their ... See full summary »

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6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Yuet-Ming Yiu ...
Little Cheung
Wai-Fan Mak ...
Fan
Yuet-Man Mak ...
Man, Fan's little sister
Robby ...
David
Sun-yau Chu ...
Grandma
Gary Lai ...
Mr. Gin
Teoh Chang ...
Kenny
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Armi Andres ...
Armi, the maid
Chum-Yuk Chuen ...
(as Angela Thuen)
Wai Yiu Yung
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Storyline

In 1997, Little Cheung is a street-wise nine-year-old boy living in a bustling neighbourhood of Hong Kong, just before the reunification with China. His parents are always working at their restaurant, so Little Cheung becomes much closer to his grandmother and her Filipino maid Armi. Little Cheung befriends Fan, a girl his age who is an illegal immigrant from China. He splits his tips with her when she helps him deliver take-outs for his father. The pair have some amusing adventures, and delight in peeing in the drinks of a troublesome thug. Against his father's will, Little Cheung starts searching for his older brother, whom his father disowned because he became a gangster. Written by Will Gilbert

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Drama

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30 December 1999 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Little Cheung  »

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Remake of Xi lu xiang (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very interesting film...the best out of the "handover trilogy"!!!
28 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

Most people say "Xilu xiang" portrayed the hardness of life of people living in the slums of Hong Kong. Though true, this film ran much deeper than that. "Xilu xiang", like "Made in Hong Kong" and "The Longest Summer" (which along with this film are commonly referred to as the "Hong Kong Handover Trilogy"), was more of a reflection of the people's attitude towards the Hong Kong "handover" (where Hong Kong was returned to mainland China on July 1st).

While "Made in Hong Kong" was about the youth of Hong Kong's doomed attitude towards the "handover" and "The Longest Summer" was about how Hong Kong citizens who worked for the British and were more British by heart had to deal with the sudden change in both the social and political spectrum, "Xilu xiang" is taken from a child's point of view and how the child views the "handover". What was more interesting and different about "Xilu xiang" than the other two films in the trilogy was that this film not only incorporated the Hong Kong citizen's point of view towards the "handover", it also looked at the point of view from the Chinese mainlander, as the first half was narrated by Xilu Xiang while the second half was narrated by A Fen. One could easily spot the change in the attitude of the people between the two plots.

This film focused on the interaction between Hong Kong citizens and the Chinese mainlanders, two people, though close geographically, but in fact were very different culturally and ideologically. The mainlanders feared being found out as illegal immigrants, while the Hong Kong citizens held a distrust towards the mainlanders. The children, on the other hand, did not see any differences between themselves and they were able to become close friends. However, the events and people around them forced them to end their friendship and to be apart. Thus, no matter how hard the people try, they could not get along.

The beauty of the film is that the two children, Xilu Xiang and A Fen, saw all the changes in Hong Kong before the "handover" as it affects even their everyday life. Yet, because of their youth and innocence, they did not completely understand them and the significance of the events as they unfolded. They had their own commentary, but they were only able to take note of the mundane and interesting details. However, the audiences, on the other hand, were more affected and touched more emotionally that these children seeing the same images that these children see. The audiences were treated to a very different cinematic experience, as not only were they able to see how the children view the "handover" and treasure and smile at their innocence, they were also able to exert their own view at the same time. Two very different views forming at the same time, simultaneously but yet not overpowering one another. Only one word to describe it: amazing.

There were no main stream Hong Kong actors in this film, though the child who portrayed the title character won the Taiwan Golden Horse award, the Asian equivalent to the Oscars, for best new comer for this role. Thus, the director and the screenwriter, Friut Chan, might be the biggest draw. If you are not a big film bluff and not in touch with the "handover", this film might be hard to understand because it tends to be confusing with images and events flying at you from all directions and there were many hidden meanings. I had to change this review couple of times because I remembered things as I was writing. Otherwise, this film is a must see. Gives you a different and new cinematic experience.


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