Still Human?

Low budget Hong Kong movie “Still Human” directed by first-time director Olivia Chan, picked up top prizes at the 21st Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy on 3 May 2019. “Still Human” tells a heart-warming story of how a Filipina domestic helper (played by Crisel Consunji) and her disabled employer (Wong) overcome their conflicts and misunderstandings. it was a favourite of both critics and audience.

Director Chan confessed that she first approached a high calibre actor like Anthony Wong simply by sending him an email with her CV and the movie script. She also revealed the source and amount of her funding, hinting that he might not be paid at all. Anthony Wong, being the principled and righteous man that he is, accepted the role as he liked the somewhat “neglected” theme.

I’ve just ordered the DVD and I’ll do a more detailed review after watching. In the meantime, Wikipedia tells us that the plot revolves around a paralyzed and Hong Kong man living alone who meets his new Filipino domestic worker. In the beginning, he is suspicious that she might take advantage of him while she dreads looking after him.

Bogged down by financial difficulties, the Filipina puts her dream of being a photographer on hold and travels to Hong Kong to earn a living. The two strangers live under the same roof through different seasons, and as they learn more about each other, they also learn more about themselves. Together, they learn to manage the different seasons/stages of life.

However, the film’s lead actor Anthony Wong, who was also the recipient of the festival’s Golden Mulberry award for outstanding achievement and winner of the Hong Kong Film Awards best actor in April for his role as a disabled man in the movie, the success of “Still Human” has yet to bring him more film work. This is obviously attributed to Wong’s political views. He is a consistent and persistent support for Hong Kong’s democracy movement may have put him on some list of banned actors imposed by filmmakers who feared offending the leaders in Beijing. Not only does he have no filming opportunities on the mainland, he is also shunned by most Hong Kong filmmakers.

True to his vocal and dignified personality, Wong insists that he does not regret any of his political comments. Neither does he feel ashamed of the exploitative category 3 movies he starred in during his younger days because he had a wife, two sons and a wheelchair bound mother to support.

He is currently planning to move to Taiwan. Hong Kong is likely to lose another great actor. Famous Hong Kong actor Gill Mohindepaul Singh 乔宝宝 left for Scotland after he failed to obtain citizenship for his wife Gurinder Kaur Gill. The situation in Hong Kong now reminds me of Singapore where people only people who can be enticed with riches or threatened with unfair treatment will thrive.

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