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Warriors of the Future
Warriors of the Future is a project of Hong Kong star Louis Koo. Koo has been almost single-handedly keeping the Hong Kong film industry in existence. A lot of Hong Kong‘s directors, cinematographers and stars go to work on ‘mainland co-productions’. Koo spent ten years getting Warriors of the Future off the ground. All the special effects that you see rendered in the film have been done by Hong Kong effects houses. The three years that the film spent in post-production seems to have been partly down to problems in accessing sufficiently large render farms for the CGI. The film cost just over 48 million pounds to make, but made only 39 million pounds in Chinese box office takings so far.
About those box office takings, on the face of it Warriors of the Future looks like just the kind of film that would do really well with Chinese cinema goers. They love Marvel, Transformers and the film adaption of Liu Cixin’s Wandering Earth. There are rumours going around that the box office takings for Warriors of the Future were spiked.
The usual scam goes something like this and has affected foreign films in the past. Cinema goer goes to the cinema. Wanders up to ticket office and asks for a ticket to Warriors of the Future, instead gets ‘Yet another remake of some made up chapter on the role that the Chinese communist party played during the great patriotic war against the Japanese’ – plot spoiler: the ‘heroes’ die. Cinema goer says ‘But I want to see Warriors of the Future‘. Ticket seller tells them to take that ticket to screen three where they can see Warriors of the Future.
Cinema goer gets to see Warriors of the Future, propaganda film gets the box office gross and cinema makes the quote of tickets that they have to sell in order to not get a visit from the security services. Given the high degree of support that the film enjoyed from stars like Daniel Wu who rented out screenings so that their fans could go and see the film for free; it seems like the Chinese government wants to stamp on the wind pipe of the barely alive Hong Kong film industry.
The film opens in Hong Kong cinemas on August 25th, and will hopefully make up for some of the lost revenue in the mainland alongside a sale of film related NFTs.
One Way is a documentary film that captures the ups and downs of Ah Man and Fiona who move with their two children to the UK from Hong Kong. Fiona is a teacher and Ah Man earns half of what she does. There is already a lot of stress in their marriage before they even plan to emigrate. There is naivety to them, which I also see mirrored in many of the other Hong Kongers I know who have been making the move recently. I am genuinely worried for how many of them will cope with the harshness of UK life.
In my experience, the British could learn a lot about civility and community from these new Hong Kong arrivals.
Growing up in rural Ireland and an Irish household in England as a child I occasionally heard of a ‘bonesetter’. A bonesetter is part way between a chiropractor and a mystic. It was passed down through families and was considered to be a miraculous power. Doctors and medicines were expensive, so someone who could solve a slipped disc, trapped or a dislocated shoulder was highly valued.
You would hear around the dinner table tales of neighbours who were ‘crippled’ with pain, they were driven by a relative to a bone setter and were cured by the bonesetter. The bonesetter was said to have a ‘gift’ rather than medical training. It is generally thought of as a relic of Ireland past, like cocks of hay, cutting turf down the bog with sleán, tea made up in a recycled mineral bottle like a large Lucozade bottle, reading the Blondie comic strip the Sunday Press and getting covered with newsprint, The Old Moore’s Almanac and Ireland’s Own.
Jimmy Heffernan featured in the film, was a name I heard as a child. He was a farmer who gradually built up a reputation via word-of-mouth across the country and amongst the Irish diaspora in the UK, US and Australia. Heffernan is no longer with us, he died in 2003. Another member of the Heffernan family continues on the tradition to this day.