The Accident [1999]
Producer: Stanley Kwan
Director: Julian Lee Chi Chiu [from his novel]
Starring: Almen Wong Pui Man, Gigi Lai Chi, Patrick Tse Yin,
Christine Ng Wing Mei, Andrew Lin Hoi, Wong Hei, Ben Ng

This is the first Hong Kong movie I've seen in a couple of years that had me getting out of my seat to leave the theatre at least a couple of times. The film weaves in and out of different storylines that are, at times, so tedious I couldn't stand it any longer. Just as I was rising out my seat, the director would cut away to rejoin a story which caused me to sit back down.

The Accident is not completely without merit. Besides a very compelling editing style, the film has been beautifully produced by Stanley Kwan. Almen and Andy Lau clone The cinematography is stunning.The director, Mr Lee, wrote the screenplay which he adapted from his novel of the same name. Almen Wong stars as a beleagured movie star working on a Cat 3 film who must do the skin scenes she is contractually obligated to do. Ms. Wong's talent manages to shine through in spite of the screenwriting.

Ben Ng is a bisexual cabbie who likes to play with boy-toy hustlers from the Mainland on one side and play around with wealthy HK wives on the other. Christine Ng Wing Mei, another talent wasted, plays the bored, rich woman who gives him money. Gigi Lai, a talented actress in other works, is totally annoying, helpless AND bitchy! A good performance, I guess, of a totally unbelieveable character. I don't get it.

Actually I do get it. 25 years or so ago, a young German filmmaker named R. W. Fassbinder made movies with similar themes of angst and sexual ambiguity in interpersonal relationships. His films remain milestones in world cinema. I'll give Julian Lee his props as he is living and working in Hong Kong in a highly charged political atmosphere. He's no Fassbinder, and The Accident will soon be forgotten.

As usual I saw this at the Music Palace in NYC.
Thanks to CineGarden in Hong Kong for the production stills!

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