Modern loneliness

25 04 2017



I saw two films at the International Film Festival which, by coincidence, both explored the theme of loneliness. Oliver Assayas’s “Personal Shopper” stars my new fave Kristen Stewart, as a searcher, a psychic, looking for something more than the unwanted life she has found herself in at the periphery of the fame machine, as a Paris celebrity’s personal shopper. Its a strange, meandering little film, full of moments of stillness but also little revelations, not the least of which is Stewart’s great central performance or her effortless normcore lesbo-chic styling. I saw it on a rainy day, the last day of my holidays, at Kowloon’s eighties-tastic Cultural Centre with the director himself in attendance.

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A few days later, the Monday night of my return to work to be precise – I journeyed out to Kowloon Tong, to see “Corpo Electrico” – the Body Electric. It is the first film from Marcelo Caetano, who previously worked on Neon Bull, and that film’s tone is evident again here: an almost plotless (and some might find, pointless) slice-of-life drama, but filled with beautifully observed scenes of every day life, almost like an anthropological documentary, and human warmth. We watch the handsome main character Elias as he daydreams at work, drinks with friends, smokes and does his laundry. Elias, played beautifully by Kelner Macêdo, works as a pattern maker in a Sao Paulo garment factory, passing his time with semi-flings with friends and ex-boyfriends.  At the time, I was charmed but slightly bored by his life, but now the day after I find the film lingering in my thoughts for its loving and very real portrayal of gay life in the early twenties : its intense and flirty friendships,  camaraderie and cliquishness, non-career job boredom and hedonistic weekends, all floating under an unformed and seemingly ominous future.

BKK fashion moment

19 04 2017


From Tossapol Boonk Boonyatanapiwat.

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He’s got the look

18 04 2017


Discussed this weekend with a visiting Shanghai fashionista, the PRC’s look du jour – boys in skinny sweat pants, big colourful Kenzo sweaters, and an MCM backpack. Its the complete package.

15 seconds of glamour, love Gucci

18 04 2017

To be or not to be?

8 04 2017

Ambiguously Yours, M+

8 04 2017

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The M+ Gallery is slated to become Hong Kong’s (rather late) attempt as pitching itself as a high culture pitstop. When it opens at West Kowloon, the museum is promised to provide a survey of modern and contemporary art through an East Asian perspective – which of course, museums in Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok are already doing. The acquisition by the museum of many of Hong Kong’s endangered neon signs in a “neon art” display could well be a colourful highlight, however. But until the opening of the museum proper, there is a small temporary display venue, the M+ pavilion, located in the midst of the rubble of the ongoing construction, next to the Western tunnel freeway.

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The second M+ exhibition “Ambiguously Yours” has caught a little bit of attention (the first show went by largely unnoticed) with its retrospective of gender representation in Hong Kong’s 1980s and 1990s pop culture. On display are clips from “golden age” Hong Kong cinema, magazine covers, stage costumes of Anita Mui and Roman Tam and the iconic red sequinned shoes worn on stage by Leslie Cheung before he died. Its a small collection and not without interest but in the end it left me without a clear idea of what exactly the museum was trying to say – what about gender in Hong Kong popular culture? Was this just a “collection of stuff” or was there a salient point being made? If so, it flew over my head.

Korean drag queens, Thai hipsters

11 03 2017

Above, the video for Korean folk maverick Lang Lee and below, Bangkok hipster posse         X0809.