29 Nov 2018 29 NOV 2018 | THE STANDARD: ADULTING A NON-STOP PROCESS WE ALL FACE
| Terence Chang
Jeffrey Wong Ping-hei was all smiles when he came to our afternoon tea. He was at the trophy presentation of the Global University Film Awards the evening before.
He was happy because Adulting, a short movie he wrote and directed, was shortlisted for the Best Chinese-language Film award.
"What made me even happier was that the movie finally won in the [Hong Kong Baptist University] Academy of Film's Choice category, and I received the award from Steve Chan Chi-fat, director of Weeds on Fire," Wong said.
The half-hour drama involved thorough pre-production work. Wong then worked almost non-stop for six days to complete shooting.
"My friends all pitched in without getting pay, making it possible for me to produce the film with an almost impossible budget of only HK$50,000," he said.
Adulting deals with the quandary that the post-90s generation found to be their reality and dilemma of having to decide if compromising is the way out.
One can see Wong's skills just by looking at scene juxtaposition.
The treatment of the interaction between the two female and male protagonists wasn't at all banal. I found the work permeated by a French New Wave film feel.
"I like to use black humor in my films. Living has never been easy, and the post-'90s have to struggle for survival between art and reality," he said. "The male protagonist had to choose whether to go to the mainland to make money.
The woman had to find ways to help the man solve his financial predicament."
Her way of doing that was to rob a convenience store.
She used a scarf to hide her face, but the storekeeper still recognized her. So she rushed out of the shop and robbed someone in a wheelchair instead.
What appeared to be absurd and ludicrous was in fact sad and pitiable.
"In the plot, the man seemed heartless and the woman naive and willful.
"But that was only a facade that should inspire questions about the issues our generation has to face, questions that adults may not understand," Wong said.
Adulting - in present continuous tense - is a non-stop process all young people have to go through.
Wong loves to write scripts and make movies.
"It's a difficult road, but I don't mind. When we are young, we should face a little hardship to do things we love to do," he concluded.
Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School