CORY LAI WRITES – Hong Kong was rightly proud to welcome the 37th International Film Festival which premiered the long awaited “Ip Man: The Final Fight.” It’s a good film. But the Los Angeles-based Hollywood Reporter revealed that raunchy R- rated comedies are the real moneymakers with the city’s current audience.
Even so, Anthony Wong, who stars as Ip Man in the latest of the five other in the series, plays a kung fu teacher in Hong Kong. Director Herman Yau has been praised for his take of the portrayal of the struggling working class during the bygone era. Focusing on the art of martial arts, the Ip Man series differs dramatically from the new trend of risqué box office hits such as Pang Ho-cheung’s Vulgaria.
Because of the explicit nature of such sexually charged films, access to the Mainland Chinese market is banned. However, shown in Hong Kong, these films are increasingly popular amongst audiences. Despite the censorship in Mainland China, Pang’s Vulgaria became the second highest grossing Chinese- language movie in Hong Kong, collecting $3.9 million at the box office. The film’s general manager, Fred Tsui, tells the Hollywood reporter, “There is indeed a trend of crass films. It is something that Pang has done before in his AV (2005) [where a group of young men create a pornographic film to become familiar with a Japanese porn star] in pushing boundaries.”
Judging from the results of Vulgaria’s success, sex-crazed films seem to be making a killing in Hong Kong. So who needs the mainland?