Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
This year, the biggest sleeper hit in Hong Kong portrays the city through the lens of a foreigner. Like her 380,000 Filipina compatriots, Evelyn (Crisel Consunji) has come to Hong Kong to earn higher wages as a domestic helper. She has to put up with a paralyzed and grumpy employer Cheong-wing (Anthony Wong). Director Chan Oliver Siu Kuen deftly alludes to social injustices like the discrimination of foreign workers, and the plight of grassroots mainstays like Cheong-wing, who is abandoned by society after a labour accident. However, most engaging is the by turns playful, antagonistic, and affectionate dynamics between two people who inspire each other to overcome social disadvantages and live life to the full.
The story is inspired by Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Filipina who took up photography while working as a nanny in Hong Kong, and went on to earn international recognition. Newcomer Consunji invests Evelyn with genuine dignity and warmth, while Wong, the virtuostic actor of Johnnie To’s Vengeance and Exiled, is at his flamboyant best. The pair deservedly won top performance honours at the Hong Kong Film Awards, while Chan was named Best New Director for her debut.
Best New Director, Best Actor, Best New Performer, Hong Kong Film Awards 19