Feb 07, 2013|
Location: The alleyway connecting Wellington Street to Wo On Lane
Cindy wears: Lightning cheongsam with pink piping, $3,580; Black vintage bag, $1,280, Ranee K. Earrings, stylist’s own.
Tim wears: The navy Tiller suit, $14,100; Twill slim fit shirt, $1,700; Ledger skinny satin tie, $1,200, Thomas Pink. Sheet of A4 paper (impromptu pocket square), stylist’s own.
(2000) As fast-paced, loud and overcrowded as Hong Kong can be, the great Wong Kar-wai adeptly revealed to his audience a slower, quieter and indeed, rather lonely side of the city in his critically acclaimed “In The Mood for Love.” Set in the 1960s and starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, the story of hidden desire and restrained passion begins when journalist Chow Mo-wan (Leung) and secretary Su Li-zhen (Cheung) immigrate from Shanghai with their spouses and move into a cramped apartment complex. Left alone in a strange city while their spouses work, Mo-wan and Li-zhen become friends, and soon learn that their partners are having an affair. However, despite their growing attraction, they choose not to stoop to the level of their cheating spouses. Intricate details, from the set design to the cinematography to all 46 of Cheung’s cheongsams (she wore a different one in every scene but obviously some were cut from the final film), were carefully selected by the director to set the perfect mood for this restrained yet powerful love story.
Recreate It: The famous cafeteria scene (picture, left) was shot in the Café de Goldfinch (G/F., 13-15 Lan Fong Rd., Causeway Bay, 2577-7981), an old-school Hong Kong-style Western diner. The decoration put up by the film crew remains, so go and order an “In the Mood for Love” set menu, which consists of sizzling steak, borscht, and other kitsch dishes.
Location: The Langham Place Hotel’s Chuan Infinity Room
Cindy wears: Short sky blue lace cheongsam, $4,380; Headband, $398, Ranee K. Shoes, model’s own.
Tim wears: Aslett suit, $14,100; Twill slim-fit shirt, Thomas Pink.
(1960) If you’ve spent any time in Wan Chai then you’re likely familiar with this melodramatic American romance story, at least in name. Shot partly on location in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island, the story of an American artist (William Holden) becoming involved with the seedy prostitute underworld serves as a vivid time capsule for our city in the 1960s. The title character is portrayed by Nancy Kwan, who was called in to reshoot half the film after the original actress (France Nuyen) was dismissed. It seems her romantic involvement with Marlon Brando—and the rumors of his affair with another actress at the same time—led Nuyen to gain so much weight that she no longer fit into production costumes. The drama off-camera mirrored the mood on-screen, as the artist must decide between the prostitute-turned-painting-muse and the wealthy banker’s daughter, both of whom have fallen for him.
Recreate it: While you’ll likely have no problem navigating your way onto the Star Ferry—where Robert uttered that famed line after Suzie wrongfully accuses him of theft—there are a wealth of original filming locations for fans to uncover in Wan Chai and beyond on a walking tour. Visit Gwulo’s blog post, which includes an exhaustive list of locations and maps, and appreciate the cinematic history that unfolds before you.
Location: The Langham Place Hotel’s Chuan Infinity Room
Cindy wears: White embroidery top, $1,680, Ranee K.
Tim wears: Shirt, model’s own.
(1988) Directed by Stanley Kwan, this story about a pair of doomed lovers is all the more poignant after the death of both its leads—Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui—in 2003. Set in 1930s Hong Kong, the suave “12th Master” Chan Chen-pang (Cheung) meets Fleur the courtesan (Mui) in a bordello. Their passionate love affair is decried by Chan’s family, and after their love is forbidden, they vow to commit suicide and be together in the afterlife. However, while Fleur dies, Chan does not. Fleur’s spirit waits in hell for 50 years, before returning to earth to revisit her former lover, now an old man filled with regret. The film swept the film festivals in Asia and abroad, with wins for Mui’s performance at the Golden Horse Film Festival, the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards, where it was also awarded best director, best original film score and best picture.
Recreate it: Many of the scenes set in modern-day Hong Kong are filmed in Shek Tong Tsui. Climb aboard a tram headed for Whitty Street and recreate the moment where the newspaper editor realizes he's talking to Fleur's ghost.
Location: Stanley Beach
Cindy wears: One piece swim suit, model’s own.
Tim wears: Swim trunks, model’s own.
(1955) There’s something about William Holden and old Hollywood movies shot in Hong Kong. Holden stars again in this critically acclaimed tale as Mark Elliot, an American news correspondent who falls in love with the beautiful Eurasian widow Dr. Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones). Based on the real-life Han Suyin’s autobiography, the couple must deal with the disapproval of her traditional family and the city’s strict racial laws, and then must work through the consequences of Mark’s assignment to cover the Korean War. The film was given an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, and Jones was nominated for Best Actress, which she likely deserved—she and Holden reportedly could not stand one another while on set. Holden later wrote in his memoirs that Jones would chew garlic before their love-making scenes, complained constantly about her makeup, and once threw a peace offering of roses in his face. Diva!
Recreate it: While the beach scenes were shot at privately-owned Middle Island, Aberdeen Harbour’s romantic and historic pair of floating restaurants have been featured in countless films including this classic. Be sure to grab a table at Tai Pak, the Jumbo’s less glitzy sister restaurant, and imagine yourself in 1950s Hong Kong.
Shum Wan Pier Drive, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2553-9111.
Want to pick up a sharp suit or a sultry cheongsam of your own? Pay these stores a visit:
Ranee K: 25 Aberdeen St., Central, 2108-4068.
Thomas Pink: Shop B67, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2155-9671.
Special thanks to the Langham Place Hotel for use of its suite: 555 Shanghai St., Mong Kok, 3552-3388.
Phil Edward Kenny is a Hong Kong movie buff and the owner of the excellent blog Hong Kong (& Macau) Film Stuff, which identifies shooting locations for local movies. Although action flicks are his forte, he suggests some lesser-known locales for (quasi) romantic movie scenes.
Shek O Health Centre
“King of Comedy”—where Cecilia Cheung wraps her legs around Stephen Chow—whaddya mean that's not romantic!!!?
140 Shek O Village, Shek O, 2809-4564.
Felix at The Peninsula Hotel
Where Jackie Chan takes Shu Qi for dinner in “Gorgeous.”
28/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2920-2888.
Where Andy Lau chats up Cecilia Cheung in “Running on Karma.”
51 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, 2803-7715, www.ymca.org.hk.
Chow Yun-fat takes Sylvia Chang to reminisce (and argue) about their past relationship in "All About Ah Long."
Tai Po Rd., Tai Wai, 2691-1425.
Swimming Pool at Dragon Garden
Where James Bond meets Chew Me in ”The Man with the Golden Gun.”
32-42 Castle Peak Rd., Tsing Lung Tau, www.dragongarden.hk.
Barker Road Peak Tram Stop
The end scene in “Soldier of Fortune” when Susan Hayward returns to Clark Gable and meets him at the tram stop, with its nice view over the harbor.
Barker Rd., The Peak.