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HOMECOMING

Hong Kong, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Yim Ho

Shan Shan, a young businesswoman tired of the materialistic life in Hong Kong, returns to the small village in southern China to visit the grave of her recently deceased grandmother. She meets her childhood friends, Ah Zhen and Tsong, now happily married with a daughter. But her presence soon upsets theirmarriageandherattemptstoenlarge their vision only point out the cultural gap between China and Hong Kong. Eventually, she leaves for home, promising to return.

"When I made my first film, The Extras, I knew it wasn't my kind of film, but I was seduced into making it Then I signed a two year contract with Golden Harvest to make The Happenings. This too had to be a commercial film but at the same time I wanted it to be a more personal work. That's why the film ended up being caught in the middle. Following this, I was pressured into making another comedy, Weddings Bells, Wedding Belles, which was a total flop. I took it as a sign from heaven! But it wasn't until I went through a very traumatic two years, trying to reconcile myself to the death of my father, that I began to think deeply about the kind of film I wanted to make. It was from this experience that 1 thought of abstract ideas that are the theme of Homecoming - life, death, and the fragility of human relations.

Most Hong Kong films are very dramatic, with lots of camera movements, closeups and panning. Mine has very little of that. I suppose I was influenced by my experience in producing a stage play - an adaptation in Cantonese of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms. I tried to draw some comparisons with theatre and theatre audience. In other words, I wanted the camera to be like an audience, looking at the whole scene but able to focus on the main characters or moments of action. That's why there is little closeup in Homecoming and lots of foreground and background movement. I think it works particularly well in this village setting because so much is happening all the time in the villagers' daily lives and so much beauty to look at, yet there is still a sense of intimacy with the main characters."

- Yim Ho

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