2015 Los Angeles Film Festival
It’s been a couple of years since the LA Weekly pronounced the romantic comedy dead. Attempts to resuscitate the form, with variations like the “bromance” and the female buddy comedy were valiant but futile. As far as the studios are concerned, human romance is out while robot love is here to stay.
Fortunately, the Los Angeles Film Festival never got the memo and programmed a romance section, some drama and others comedies. Many of them are outstanding, in particular The Escort, How He Fell in Love and White Moss, all of which I’ll try to cover in separate reviews.
It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015) is the visually stunning first feature from writer and director Emily Ting. Drawing inspiration from Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise series, it’s also influenced by Wong Kar Wai though his Hong Kong looks dingy compared to Ting’s elegant vision of the city.
Ruby (Jamie Chung) meets Josh (Bryan Greenberg) outside of a bar where Josh has stepped outside to make a phone call. They’re both Americans in Hong Kong and it’s debatable which one is more the fish out of water. Chinese American Ruby could pass for a local until she opens her mouth to speak and her Southern California accent comes out. By contrast, Josh, a Jewish American, speaks Cantonese well.
Chung and Greenberg are perfectly cast and make Ting’s simple plot come alive. At the post screening Q&A, Chung mentioned that as her character was experiencing Hong Kong for the first she was as well. “I was in absolute awe.” Greenberg agreed and said that their arrival a week before shooting was helpful. “If I was going to play a local it was important for me to have been in these locations. They couldn’t shut down these streets. It was a very run-and-gun type of shoot [filmed by Josh Silfen]. That week was invaluable and I’d love to go back!”