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By William Anderson
DIFF Writer

In DOOMSDAY PARTY, five strangers’ lives fatefully intertwine inside the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong during an economic catastrophe. The city is at the point of rebellion, and at the forefront are a random cast of characters: two angry star-crossed teenagers with a penchant for bomb making, a wealthy mother at the end of a high profile affair, a beautiful bank teller who must choose between her current love or a rekindled flame, and a police detective who is trying to keep the entire city from burning to ashes.

doomsdayDOOMSDAY PARTY is a great example of what modern Hong Kong cinema has to offer. We were able to catch up with Director Ho Hong and find out some insight on his latest film.

DIFF: Having written and directed DOOMSDAY PARTY, would you say it’s a “passion project?”

Ho Hong: The script for Doomsday Party is one that is very representative of Hong Kong’s atmosphere nowadays. So, if I want to reflect Hong Kong’s current situation, then this is the movie I should make first. I talked to producer Teddy Robin Kwan Wai Pang, and he was also interested in this subject, so we submitted the script to apply for the HK Film Development Fund and was successful for 40% of the capital, then we foundd other investors: ‘CL Group’ and ‘SunDream’ Pictures, and my Company ‘Film Plus’ also being one. The script actually won HAF Awards at Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum 2013.

I am happy that I can do my first feature related to this social issue. As a film director, I have a chance not only to create art in film but also can say something about our society. I have to say my ‘passion project’ should be my next one, always keeping energy for the upcoming task.

DIFF: One of the film’s greatest draws is its use of interweaving story lines. Was it difficult writing a script in this fashion?

HH: It was difficult, but was also challenging and fun because I like playing with structure. I didn’t need a lot of time to make the first draft, but I spent almost three years trying different possibilities and fine-tuning the script. In order to produce believable interweaving story lines, you have to explore the characters in various ways and find a sustainable connection between them. Such connections should help move the story forward and be necessary for the characters’ development. Some people may say “Why so many coincidences?” I think this is the key for narrative; sometimes life is full of drama. You can’t tell the story of “What is life?”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 3.02.44 AMDIFF: The Bank Crisis is based on issues regarding Lehman Brothers that are still not completely resolved in Hong Kong. Are any of your characters based on real-life people or events?

HH: I will say ALL characters are based on different elements of real-life people. The bomb making character is reminiscent of Otaku who isolated himself and didn’t know how to communicate with the society. As a matter of fact, there was a local student in HK who tried to make a bomb and had an accident that blew up his finger in real life.

DIFF: What drew you into making a movie about the economic crisis?

HH: Hong Kong is famous for its international Financial Centre. If I make a story about HK, a bank is the epitome of it. All the characters are trapped inside; while there is a major crisis with the bank robbery, each of them has their own crises. As a matter of fact, it can be a phenomenon in our today’s society.

Doomsday Party combines 5 storylines that relate to political, economic, and social issues in Hong Kong. Audiences on one hand will have a common feeling about it, but on the other hand will be attracted by the exquisite plots that lead them into the chaos of this world: A well-educated masters student wants to challenge the finance system; A common bank worker stuck in a love triangle; A good cop losing his eyesight on the job; A widow taking revenge on a politician; A retired teacher whose lost his faith and is planning to commit suicide.

All these characters crash into each other at the bank when the incident happens. They are all trapped with no way out. The difficulty they face is the epitome of Hong Kong situation. The clock is ticking; the bomb is inside and can ignite anytime.

DIFF: Is there anything else you would like to tell prospective audiences?
I prefer if the audience can tell me what they feel instead of me tell them. But one thing I will say is don’t leave the cinema until the end credit. There’s an interesting surprise.


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