WHAT’S UP CONNECTION
Director: Masashi Yamamoto Run Time: 120 min. Release Year: 1990 Language: Japanese
Starring: Hideo Murota, Reiko Arai, Toshinori Kondo, Tse Wai-Kit
When Hong Kong teenager Chi Gau Shin (Tse Wai Kit, School on Fire) wins a trip to Japan, he unleashes a chain of events that will soon bring him from the secluded fishing village of Po Toi O to Tokyo, by way of Kamagasaki – the so-called slums of Osaka. On the way, he connects with a barely competent tour guide named Kumi and the shapeshifting, loud-mouthed and loveable thief Akane. Upon returning home with this merry band of schemers, Gau Shin finds his family of resourceful counterfeiters on the verge of expropriation. A multinational conglomerate led by a ruthless Japanese developer has found the village, and is determined to raze it to build the new center of world trade!
Masashi Yamamoto one-ups Robinson’s Garden (1987) with the go-for-broke ambition of What’s Up Connection: a rare bilingual Japan-Hong Kong coproduction that unfolds as part unhinged globalization mini-epic, fringe documentary and portrait of a crazy family (the “Chi” of the Chi family a homonym for “crazy” in Cantonese). A breathless, kaleidoscopic evocation of a specific pan-Asian cultural experience as the 1990s drew near, What’s Up has it all: Hongkongers looking to Japan for shopping and recreation; Japanese looking to Hong Kong for investment and opportunity – and the gangsters, hackers, thieves and Taoist priests stuck in-between it all. Scored by avant-garde trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, here is a lively film that bursts at the seams with possibility and brings Yamamoto’s project – of capturing beauty and resilience in the margins of capital – to its maximalist apex.
Courtesy of Kani Releasing