First-time filmmaker Amos Why (no, really) produced and directed Dot 2 Dot/點對點. It tells two stories about people in Hong Kong and the lives they lead.
Moses Chan plays Chung, a fairly typical Hong Konger who works long hours in a job he appears to like. But his real passion in life is Slow Living (with a capital S and L), a lifestyle that’s about taking your time and appreciating things as opposed to the rampant consumerism so prevalent in Hong Kong.
He has a collection of toys and magazines he saved from his childhood and would much rather spend time alone with his stuff than talking with his friends.
Which can really be a problem when you’ve invited your friends over to your house.
He also has another hobby; he marks up MTR stations with arcane dot patterns, waiting to see if someone can figure out what the pictures outlined by the dots are.
Meng Ting Yi plays Xue, a teacher from mainland China who has come to Hong Kong to teach Mandarin. She’s the kind of new immigrant we don’t hear much about. She’s educated, professional, and doesn’t buy up milk powder or use the sidewalk as a restroom. She spends her days teaching at a school where Yum Yum Shaw is the headmistress.
It was nice to see Yum Yum Shaw in a small but significant role. She’s always entertaining, but it was nice to see her here providing dramatic weight instead of just comic relief.
When Xue isn’t teaching, she spends her spare time trying to figure out what these dots outside MTR stations mean.
I don’t want to talk too much about the story, because I don’t want to give anything away. I also would encourage people to watch the movie themselves.
Dot 2 Dot/點對點 is a local movie, but it is also a very non-commercial film. Moses Chan is a popular TV actor, but the movie isn’t really a star vehicle. It’s a quiet, slow-moving story about life in Hong Kong, and it’s full of very rich details about Hong Kong life, history, culture, and people.
I think living here for a decade makes it easier for me to understand some of the references and details. I’m sure I’m missing others, too. It’s especially nice if you’ve lived here, because you will recognize so many places, but even without a deep contextual knowledge, Dot 2 Dot is still a story that people can relate to.
I had low expectations about Dot 2 Dot/點對點, but not because of the movie itself. It’s a Category I movie, which means there’s no violence, or bad words, or gangsters, or sexual situations.
That’s not normally the kind of movie I gravitate towards.
It’s also an independent film, and that can be a good or bad thing. Sometimes independent movies do things that mainstream movies can’t or won’t do, and it can be interesting. Often, though, independent movies do things that aren’t done because it makes the movie difficult or impossible to watch.
At least for me.
But Dot 2 Dot/點對點 isn’t like that. It’s a slow movie, but it’s very well shot, well-acted and put together quite nicely.
There’s even an oddly prescient line about the police using pepper spray on people. This film was completed a long time before September of this year.
I think the nicest thing I can say about Dot 2 Dot/點對點 is that it’s one of those stories that you know couldn’t ever happen in real life, but at the same time, you wish that it could.