WITH the Year of the Rabbit just days away, the Hong Kong movie industry is making final preparations for an annual tradition – the Chinese New Year comedy.
These popular films – a unique Hong Kong genre for the New-Year holiday – have a simple formula: an all-star cast, madcap antics, music and a happy ending.
The dialogue and gags usually play on knowledge of Hong Kong culture and current events, and the stars often poke fun at their public personas. The jokes are often crass but never mean-spirited, and the movies aim to be suitable for grandparents and children alike.
Over many years the New Year practice of going to the movies has become an important family event and in keeping with the family-oriented holiday. In the past many parents went to the cinema only once a year – during the Lunar New Year –and the movie had to have two elements: well-known stars and lots of laughs.
Many studios typically have rolled out their big movies of the year during this time, but recent shifts in the movie-going public, such as the October 1 National Day holiday, are now just as important.
This New Year will bring the release of martial-arts action-drama “Shaolin,” which stars Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Fan Bing Bing.
But the plots of the traditional Chinese New Year movies today still centre around family and romance.