Trailblazing independent filmmaker Wayne Wang presents a wild ride into pre-handover Hong Kong.
Dir. Wayne Wang / Hong Kong, United States / 1990 / English, Cantonese with English subtitles
A cowboy, charged with delivering a suitcase to a mob boss, gets entangled with the boss’s lover. But that story is barely pretext for this fascinating trip through the alleyways and upper echelons of pre-handover Hong Kong. Probing the city’s anxieties via archetypes, larger-than-life characters and documentary footage, the film is a gutsy feast of visual pleasure and stylistic invention. In an oeuvre that spans The Joy Luck Club, Smoke and Last Holiday, pioneering Asian-American director Wayne Wang has never sat still creatively, and Life Is Cheap… But Toilet Paper Is Expensive stands up and stands out as a supremely anarchic, scatological flex of in-your-face sensory cinema.
Kate Taylor, Programme Director
A gallery carousel of 3 items
A rambunctious Hong Kong-set shaggy-dog thriller.
Presented in association with Bristol's Cinema Rediscovered festival
Director: Wayne Wang
Wayne Wang was born and raised in Hong Kong and named after his father’s favourite movie star, John Wayne. At age 17, his parents arranged for him to move to the US, expecting him to attend medical school. Instead, Wang turned to the arts and studied film and television at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts. Wang established his reputation as a visionary director with Chan is Missing, Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, and Eat a Bowl of Tea in the early 1980s. His best-known works are the mainstream The Joy Luck Club (1993) and Maid in Manhattan (2002) as well as the independent features Smoke (1995) and Anywhere but Here (1999). His accolades include receipt of the 2007 Golden Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival and a lifetime achievement award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival in 2016. Wang lives and works in San Francisco and New York.
Writers: Spencer Nakasako, Wayne Wang
Producer: Winnie Fredriksz
Cast: Chan Kim Wan, John K. Chan, Cheng Kwan Min
Sales Agent: Arbelos
Distributor: Cinema Rediscovered
Digital restoration by Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Funding provided by Ron and Suzanne Naples. Restoration and remastering supervised by Ross Lipman in consultation with Wayne Wang.
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Photo: Still from Life is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive
© Life is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive