Trivial Matters/破事兒 is a different sort of movie; it’s not one story, it’s a collection of stories, some longer than others. It was produced, written, and directed by Pang Ho Cheung, with much of the material adapted from his written fiction.
The stories are populated by a lot of familiar faces, and the situations and dialog are as varied and as interesting as the cast. For a Category IIB movie, there’s a surprising amount of profanity, sexual content, and nudity. There’s even drug use.
It don’t make you a bad person, I’m just saying.
What does make you a bad person is bringing little children to watch this movie in the cinema, which happened when I saw the movie the first time.
But it was the Dynasty, so what can you expect?
The first segment has Jan Lam as a psychotherapist refereeing couples therapy between Chan Fai-Hung and Crystal Tin Yui-Lei.
The thing that makes the segment so great, and so funny, has to be seen. I can’t explain it without ruining it.
Let’s just say the 4th wall has a window.
The shortest segment features Edison Chen and Stephanie Cheng.
Who only shows her navel once. Dammit.
This segment gained some extra exposure (!) when the film was released to DVD. The release of Trivial Matters/破事兒 happened during the Edison Chen photo scandal.
Back in 2008, there were a ton of DVD shops in Hong Kong. They would put a big TV in the front window showing short loops of whatever movie they wanted to sell. Sometimes late at night they would show old Stephen Chow movies; more than once I saw a sidewalk full of people at 3:00AM in Mongkok watching the entire movie.
Don’t ask me what I was doing at 3:00AM in Mongkok. That’s my doctor’s job.
Good God, where were we? In Trivial Matters, there’s a scene where Edison Chen makes a typically humble self-appraisal:
Well, after Edisongate happened, guess what scene was played over and over and over at almost every DVD shop in the city?
One of the longer segments features Eason Chan as a guy who’s been leaving a bad taste in his girlfriend’s mouth.
His girlfriend is played by Isabel Chan, whom some of you may remember from the neglected masterpiece IQ Dudettes. What makes this segment work so well is the understated acting and pervasive realism; this is what people are really like, and this is how they really behave.
The same could be said about the segment with Chapman To as an actor ‘calling chicken,’ which is a Cantonese euphemism for visiting a prostitute.
I’m sorry, a horizontal refreshment engineer.
The scene is understated, touching, and realistic.
From what I’ve read.
The longest segment stars Gillian Cheung and Stephy Tang as classmates whose lives take unexpected turns. Both women are surprisingly good in their roles, and I liked that the story was set in the past.
The final segment has Shawn Yue playing a hitman in training sent on a job to whack Conroy Chan. There are hits done, but not the kind you expect. The segment ends a little strangely, and since it’s the last segment, the movie ends strangely too. But it was a strange movie to begin with, so it seems fitting.
I really enjoyed Trivial Matters/破事兒 and I think you will too.