This year’s Chinese Documentary Festival, which runs from 9th September to 16th October, will showcase over thirty films from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan across three categories – Features, Shorts and Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries. The films encompass a wide range of themes including art, politics, religion and current affairs. Several of the films directors will attend the Festival to share their experience with the audiences.
The featured Chinese documentaries tend to focus on social issues such as demolition and education – My Land and Wandering Village both discuss the issue of demolition, with the former describing an agricultural family’s struggle for their land and the latter utilising the recycling industry as the background of the woes that workers have due to demolition. A Purpose Built School highlights how the “Gaokao Factory” twists the meaning of education, while Xu Tong’s Cut Out the Eyes takes the historical drama Er Ren Tai to the cinema, morphing the protagonist’s misfortunes into a complain against violence.
The Taiwanese films are relatively more emotional. Kuo Shiao-yun’s Meeting with Bodhisattva documents how Taiwan’s U-Theatre has guided a group of released inmates to rise above their old habits and temptations. In My Foreign Hometown, foreign brides in the Hakka community shows a united and positive attitude towards life. Trapped at Sea, Lost in Time is a major production, and tells the stories of fishermen far away from home. Rolling on the Stage, Rolling for Life brings to the audience the art of Taiwanese folk opera, while depicting the thrilling stories of the opera troupe members behind the stage.
This year’s Shorts category focuses on the many highs and lows of life. Taiwanese director Shen Ko-shang’s Murmuring Days captures the moments of cancer patients with their families, showing how love shines through even the darkest of times. Stand By You provides an account of social welfare organisations aiding children with experiences of misfortune, impressing audiences with its underlying sentiment. A Story of the Remainders documents an ordinary family plunged into turmoil, bringing to light the devastating change that resulted from the demolition of Taiwan’s military communities. Shangshu Seminary witnesses the reconstruction process of this Sichuan Catholic monastery, with the alarming murders that happened in the course of reconstruction showing the dark side of human nature; on the flipside, Atayal Mother’s Peaches uses the story of a peach farming family to show the resilience Taiwans’s aborigines retain in the face of adversity. A Perfect Crash documents the political downfall of Sunflower Movement student leader Chen Wei-ting due to a sex scandal, while Nameless provides the openly humourous attitude a street vendor poses towards overcoming the challenges in life.
Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries
With the media increasingly self-censoring, documentaries are becoming an important medium to expose the stories the media won’t cover. This year’s Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries category contains several impressive films. Cheung King Wai’s The Taste of Youth lends an ear to the heartfelt confessions of nine teenagers, broadcasting the neglected voices of society’s young ones. In Parent Cheering Team, parents and children are similarly engaged and excited in baseball, with the pricelessness of family relations emerging from within. Kong Rice witnesses the involvement of a teacher in a revival of agriculture movement in the New Territories, with the aim of environmental conservation. Yellowing and 75 Days: Life, Liberty and Happiness record the comings and goings of the Umbrella Movement, while Van Drivers 2 sees the Umbrella Movement through the eyes of volunteer workers. More than Conquerors provides a discussion on the relationship between religion and society, while the unique Zero Acceleration employs fantastic camerawork to lead the audience from bustling city life into an urban oasis. Tai O Diary, the works of Visible Record’s Master Class 2015, shows the charms of Tai O in different aspects.
Chinese Documentary Festival 2016
Date: 9 September – 16 October, 2016
Hong Kong Space Museum (10 Salisbury Road, TST)
Hong Kong Science Museum (2 Observatory Road, TST)
The Grand Cinema (2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, TST)
Tickets: $85, $70
More info: www.visiblerecord.com
Lots of tasty choices this summer including a Brazilian themed buffet at Cafe Renaissance and bubble parties for your kids at Frites.
Brazilian Buffet @ Cafe Renaissance
In Hong Kong we can enjoy cuisines from around the world, there’s surprisingly few restaurants offering South American fare. In celebration of the Olympics, Café Renaissance in Wanchai is expanding it’s regular lunch and dinner buffet to feature a rotating selection of popular Brazilian dishes.
Curated by Brazilian Guest Chef Lucio Mauro the indigenous menu includes Arracacha soup with shredded chicken, black eyed peas beans salad, palm heart spaghetti with avocado salad, chicken conquetes and cheese balls salad.
The hot entree section includes prawns with cassava and coconut rice, a delicious Feijoada- which is a black bean stew with sausages and pork. Or try the Escondidinho (beef jerky and potato) that’s a popular dish from Northeast Brazil.
Barbecue in Brazil is known as Churrasco, Hong Kong law doesn’t allow charcoal cooking inside, so the beef, lamb and chicken Churrasco are cooked traditionally but using an electric grill instead.
Brazil has lots of tasty desserts including: Brigadeiro (a truffle ball with a rich chocolate flavour), beetroot chocolate cake, coconut pudding with prune sauce and minute tapioca with dulce de leite are served on weekends.
All Cafe Renaissance’s regular signature buffet dishes are still availalble including Australian oysters, steamed live Boston lobster, sashimi, sushi, grilled and roasted meats and over twenty desserts plus cheese and ice-cream
The Brazilian Lunch Buffet is served 12-2:30pm Monday to Friday ($308) and 11:30am-2:30pm on weekends ($338). The Brazilian Dinner Buffet 6:30-10pm daily: $568 from Monday to Thursday and $588 from Friday to Sunday. The price includes free flow of chilled fresh juices, soft drinks and in the evening a special Brazilian mocktails will be served at night.
Cafe Renaissance: Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai. Tel: 2584 6871
Bubbles @ Frites
FRITES is hosting children’s Bubble Parties every Saturday and Sunday until the end of July to entertain youngsters while their parents relax and enjoy their lunch. The free bubble sessions lasting 30 minutes are at 2pm and 4pm while there are other children’s activities happening across lunchtime. For more details visit www.frites.hk
When I first heard of Ee Da Le by Harlan Goldstein I hadn’t a clue it was Italian, all that came to my mind were musical notes and possibly opera.
The logo for Ee Da Le sees the name spelt as three words almost encouraging you pronounce them separately. It’s only when you merge them you realise the name Ee Da Le or rather Eedale is how many Chinese pronounce Italy!!
A bubbly Harlan Goldstein greeted guests invited to a lunchtime preview tasting a day before the public soft opening.
The decor is understated yet has this rich Italian operatic touch and feel to it with ruby red velvet curtains, extravagant light shades, a tile looking floor that isn’t and all the small details that you don’t really see unless you look closely. The 58 seat restaurant features a long open kitchen to observe and smell the chefs hard at work. There’s also a full bar where you can enjoy a cocktail while waiting for your table.
On arrival, we were served with a plate of cheese bread, which looked like cute mini loaves accompanied with a green salsa verde dip which was made with pickled onion, pesto, white vinegar and parsley. The bread was quite firm, with a nice cheesy taste. Dipping it in the salsa verde mellows the cheese out nicely.
A selection of anti-pasti dishes arrived next including a tomato bruschetta, a scallop carpaccio and Mama’s Meatballs.
The Pomodoro, slices of tomato bruschetta $32/piece, were light and crispy and heaped with fresh tomato that had a tangy punch to it.
Mama’s Meatballs ($108) are made with veal, beef and pork sausage smothered in Sunday gravy. These meatballs were amazing because they were lean and velvety yet soft and moist, while the delicious Sunday gravy made the meatball experience complete as it was meat juice mixed with tomatoes and fragrant herbs like bay leaves.
The Crudo di Mare ($168) was quite summery; the scallops were drizzled in citrus topped with sea urchin, sun-dried tomatoes and anchovy, which gave it some bolder flavours.
Moving on, we had the Char-grilled Sicilian Octopus ($168) served on a bed of mash (potato crema) topped with olives and a baby gem lettuce heart. The octopus tentacle was infused with herbs yet it still tasted like it was straight from the sea with that firm springy texture.
The last dish, Madam Chu’s Signature Linguini with Red Prawns ($428) was stunning. A vibrant linguini in a thick orange sauce served on a black plate with an edge that looked like the surface of the moon replete with mini craters.
If you look closely, you can see generous pieces of small dried shrimps, which give the linguini such a strong salty prawn flavour. The prized red prawns add sweetness through the essence that comes from the prawn head. A truly rich linguini, which can get quite heavy for one so it is best shared.
For dessert, we finished with Affogato ($68), which came with smoke coming off it, and then hot espresso was poured on top. The intense chocolate flavour, contrasted with these strong coffee bits, Amaretti crumble and Tahitian vanilla gelato.
Ee Da Le’s team are still finding their feet in the new kitchen as the workmen complete the finishing touches, yet the food is beautifully cooked and presented. We’ll be back for more of Mama’s meatballs and to explore further the extensive menu.
Ee Da Le
3/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. Tel: 2896 1838
Opening Hours: 12-3pm, 6-11pm
Photos: Jayne Russell
Now in it’s 28th year the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest takes place at the sea area across from the Macau Tower on the 3rd, 10th, 15th and 24th September and 1st October. Ten teams will compete in the year’s event and look to dazzle the Macau skyline with spectacular displays tied to a series of themes: Pyro Fantasia, Tribute to Bond, Mid-Autumn Harmony, Stars from Afar and Celebration in the Sky.
Organised by Macao Government Tourism Office, which again requested teams to choreograph their fireworks displays with music and laser projections, the contest pits globally-acclaimed pyrotechnic companies against each other. This year’s strong line-up of competitors features ten teams from (in order of appearance in the contest): Thailand, Portugal, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Italy, Canada, Romania and China. The Romanian and Canadian companies are making their Macau debuts while the other eight teams have all entertained and placed well in previous years.
28th Macao Fireworks Display Competition
Date: 9pm, 9:40pm, 3, 10, 15, 24 September, 1 October, 2016
Venue: Sea in front of the Macau Tower
After a year travelling and exploring new tastes and flavours Harlan Goldstein is back as Ee Da Le, the first of four new restaurants with new partners ZS Hospitality, opens today. Hong Kong’s own ‘celebrity’ chef is not to everyone’s cup of tea. Over the years though he’s built a strong personal brand and a solid coterie of loyal customers and staff because not only is he a good chef he’s also very good at genuinely ensuring that the people who matter feel needed, welcome, important… as required.
While not every restaurant he’s opened has been either a critical or commercial success, the menus have usually been solid and the decor interesting if not extravagant.
At our tasting lunch, a trailer to the launch of Harlan III (this is Harlan’s third group of partners) it’s difficult to tell if the man has mellowed. The passion, ambition and desire are clearly still there with solid thoughts and ideas for the future – it’s fascinating and invigorating to listen as Harlan talks through the concepts and themes of the upcoming outlets as well as the ideas behind Ee Da Le.
Every now and then though, it was like an alarm went off inside to reminded him that he was chatting to journalists and ‘celebrity chef Harlan’ would make an appearance and the comments become more rote and filled with soundbite cliches voiced somewhat unconvincingly from a man who appears a little nervous, not that he’d ever admit it, about opening night.
To use a cliche there are lots of people around who like to talk the talk, but few who can walk the walk. Harlan is one of those who’s passionate about food and has walked that talk into a series of fine restaurants over the last 20 years. So with Harlan the three-quel opening into a fiercely competitive market, we’ll leave the final word to the man “I’m back baby”.
After Yu’s mother passes away, he finds himself racked with guilt and self-doubt – could he have taken taking better care for her when she was still alive? One day, still struggling with guilt and grief, he encounters a young version of his mom. Is this a chance to start anew? Or should we change before our actions turn into regret?
bc spoke to Feel the Pulse about their new Cantonese drama Treasure which walk’s down memory lane on a journey of reflection exploring the meaning of family ties, while offering a reminder of how unconditional love can fill up our hearts.
Where did the idea/concept behind Treasure come from?
The story idea came from the personal experience of the playwright Roney. “I lost my mother last year and that was the worst period of time so far in my life. But I was unbelievably calm and tough instead of collapsing and crying all the time. It was not just because I have to stay rational to handle a lot of issues but there was also a voice in my heart asking me to be strong because my mother would like me to carry on and live happily,” said Roney. “I can still remember how was it like during those days and it was just beyond words. Therefore I would like to express those feelings through a story and a drama seems to be the best way to present them.”
How has the original idea evolved and changed to become Treasure?
“Writing a drama is not like writing a diary. I have to show more thought for the audiences than myself. Therefore I must need to be sensible – despite that there are some surreal elements – and an attractive story to carry all the feelings that I want to share,” said Roney. “Writing the script for this piece required me to express all the true feelings in my heart and it was like showing all my weaknesses to everybody. It was hard and that is why the script went through a few versions before the final one came out. At the beginning I was scared to expose too much because I was not brave enough to face my true thoughts. But after being encouraged by my partners, I really tried to sit down and think of what I have gone through. And finally I was able to show everything I have in my mind.”
Why did you decide to create a trailer and release a theme song?
The main reason of doing this is to further attract peoples attention. Through video and music, our potential audiences are able to catch a glimpse of the drama, know the theme, taste the mood. Besides, we believe that video and music are stronger than text and printing materials in terms of drawing attention and arousing awareness. We would like to highly recommend the theme song Meet You Some Other Day to everyone as it was produced by a group of very talented musicians and songwriters. The song was composed by Eddy To and the lyrics are written by Green Tea based on the true story of Roney.
Can Hong Kong’s traditional values survive both modern society and the attempts to mainlandise our city?
We have experienced the best of Hong Kong and it is already in our minds. Therefore no matter how our home changes, the beautiful things will not be destroyed. Yet we have the responsibility to protect the remaining ones and tell the next generations how wonderful our home can be and what they deserve to have.
Why did you call your group Feel The Pulse?
We have to calm down and concentrate to feel our pulse. And we have to do the same if we want to feel life. Hongkongers are too busy to stop and think what they truly want in their lives. Therefore we hope to encourage people to slow down a bit, listen to the voice in their hearts and figure out what they truly deserve in their lives.
What pulse are you looking to tap into?
Self-consciousness. Most Hongkongers have closed their senses. They do not feel. They lock their true emotions and have lost the meaning of life. Therefore what we trying to do – including through our first drama production last year and our first concert in March, which shared the same objective – is to awaken people from their treadmill lives, to remember who they are and experience the brightside of the world.
Will you add English surtitles so that non-Cantonese speakers can enjoy the show?
We really hope that we can do it one day to further expand our audience base. Yet at this stage we are not able to do that. We still welcome everyone to come and enjoy the show regardless of how good their Cantonese is, as we believe that the atmosphere, emotions, feelings and messages in the show are all beyond words.
鄧學良 Tang Hok Leung
黎苓妃 Jordana Lai
謝淑芬 Tse Shuk Fun
陳修鳴 Chan Sau Ming
呂樂欣 Loo Lok Yan
李佩貞 Crystal Lee Pui Ching
葉夏珠 Yip Ha Chu
黃韻怡 Wong Wan Yee
謝億文 Tse Yik Man
唐慧卿 Selina Tng
賴仲燊 Lai Chung San
莊子恒 Chong Tsz Hang
黃穎藍 Wong Wing Lam Coda
Director: 何繼紳 Ho Kai San; 陳致榮 Chan Chi Wing Roney
Playwright: 陳致榮 Chan Chi Wing Roney
Feel Your Pulse
Date: 5-7 August, 2016
Venue: Kwai Tsing Theatre, Black Box Theatre
Tickets: $160 from Urbtix