Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
NYAFF ’15: It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong
Kong is a wildly cinematic city, but it is not conducive to rom-coms. Johnnie
To keeps trying, but it is his gangster-cop dramas that will be remembered.
Still, two American ships passing in the night will take their best shot at
talky flirtatiousness in Emily Ting’s It’s
Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (clip here), which screens during the 2015 New York Asian Film Festival.
Lin is a Chinese American toy designer who does not speak a word of Cantonese. Josh
Rosenberg is a fluent American expat working in finance. There paths cross on
the one night she happens to be in Hong Kong for business. He helps her
navigate the city, sparks fly, and then epic fail. One year later, they bump
into each other on the Kowloon ferry. She is now temporarily working in HK, but
she still does not feel comfortable there. Much to her surprise, Rosenberg has
chucked in his high paying corporate gig and has adopted the lifestyle of a
literary bohemian. It’s all her fault, by the way.
start slower on their second go-round, but eventually they generate the same
heat again. However, this time they are uncomfortably aware of the other’s
respective romantic partners. Maybe it cannot lead anywhere, but the food looks
delicious and the scenery is picture postcard perfect.
it is kind of like the Linklater trilogy. So what? Frankly, even Before Sunrise was not so
earth-shatteringly original when it first released. There was a 1945 film
called Brief Encounter that covered
similar thematic terrain and it was based on a play from the 1930s. David Lean
did it better than anyone, but Ting has a huge trump card in the city of Hong
Kong. It is easy to imagine a lot of indulgent boyfriends and husbands getting
dragged on a It’s Already Tomorrow pilgrimage
tour (or maybe vice versa). Seriously, Ting and cinematographer Josh Silfen
make the mega-city look ever so seductive (and also quite a bit overwhelming).
Lin and Rosenberg, co-executive producers Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg
exhibit real chemistry, as apparently they ought to. Even their idlest chatter is
pretty hot, yet it almost always sounds believably grounded. Even though they
riff on Seinfeld, Ting’s screenplay
mercifully never sounds like it is trying to deliberately coin catch-phrases.
NYAFF’s screening of IATIHK is presented in conjunction with the Hong Kong Economic and
Trade Office in New York, who really should be at the theater selling HK
tourism packages. They would probably get a lot of takers. In many ways, the
film follows a predictable pattern, but its ambiguous romance and the perambulation
through the streets of Hong Kong is an entirely pleasant and satisfying way to
spend some fleeting time. Recommended for those who enjoy rom-coms and city
symphonies, It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong
Kong screens this Sunday (6/28) at the Walter Reade, as part of this year’s
Labels: Jamie Chung, NYAFF '15