Documentary title: Women’s Horizon (好風景)
Directors: Jo Ho Ka Wui (何嘉滙) and Bryan Chang Wai Hung (張偉雄).
Casts: Kitman, Esther, Kai Kai (佳佳), Charlene, Chan Hei (陳熹).
Film rating: **** out of 5
Women’s Horizon (好風景) is documentary that recorded the different small slices of lives of five Hong Kong women from 2010 fall to 2012 spring. In 58 minutes, the filmmakers were successful in getting the viewers to see how the five women living their lives and for this reviewer, to care about them all. The filmmakers were careful in telling/reminding the viewers by putting up slides on screen part way through the film stating “We are not comparing or judging. We don’t want the audience to generalize all Hong Kong women either. This might only a be a tiny part of their life. Going in front of the camera may cause hesitation or glossing over issues, We want to capture that brief moment of their sincere reality.”
Without heavy hands nor trying to sensationalize things, the film gives viewers windows to the women’s work lives, family lives, their aspirations, their disappointments, their dating/love lives, and more. And at one point, we felt like an intimate participant along Kai Kai’s political protest and can emphasize the changes she must have gone through since the beginning of the film.
Watching the film, there are many scenes with Kitman, Esther, Kai Kai, Charlene, and Chan Hei that put a smile on my face, made me laugh out loud, got me thinking, felt sad, and got me scared for what I saw on screen. These are signs of a good documentary.
As far as this reporter knows (plus checking with Jo), Women’s Horizon is possibly the first Hong Kong documentary that wishes/plans to come back to revisit the same documentary subjects in a few years time (if the documentary subjects are willing to participate). Jo mentioned to this reviewer in an video interview that she and Byran were inspired and influenced by the British Up Series when they were planning the documentary in 2010. As a big admirer and lover of the Up Series, this reviewer hopes Jo & Byran’s wishes will come true and viewers will have the pleasure to learn more about Kitman, Esther, Kai Kai, Charlene, and Chan Hei in a few years.
Women’s Horizon (好風景) film outline,
“[Women’s Horizon (好風景)] Paints a portrait of five unique Hong Kong women. Kitman, a big fan of online sweepstake;; Charlene, a dance instructor and urban fashion shop owner;; Esther, growing up in in a christian community aspiring to live the life within the church;; Chan Hei, was an advocate for the fair treatment of sex workers and is employed at a bookstore;; Kai Kai, Representative of the League of Fanling North Villages and Residents. The documentary recorded their lives from 2010 to 2012. It represents a history of their growth, a reflection of their temporal moods and aspirations for the the future. The images filmed are like five mobile mirrors into individual lives revealings their feeling intentionally or unintentionally. The documentary is not aiming to judge but solely at catching a glimpse of the women’s innermost feelings in this era.”
Here is a trailer,