Never Let a Skill Die.
Well, be prepared to have your heartstrings well and truly pulled, with writing her first feature and her directorial debut, Anastasia Tsang‘s touching and heartfelt tribute to Hong Kong’s famous, now disappearing Neon signs. This is an awesome film.
Mei-hsiang (Sylvia Chang, Love Education, Passion) sits in an amusement arcade, playing a coin pusher, but she is having no luck at all, she tells her husband Bill (Simon Yam, Ip Man, Election) that the game’s a scam. But Bill is much more laid back than Mei, he tells her about a fountain in Rome that if you turn your back to the fountain and make a wish then throw a coin into the fountain your wish will come true. So he turns his back to the machine and tries to throw a coin into the machine until Mei puts a stop to his tomfoolery, but the technique works when Mei guides his hand to the slot.
May our love last to eternity.
The next time we see Mei, things have changed, Mei sits in the same arcade, but Bill has passed away, she sits in the empty arcade clutching Bill’s ashes, feeling abandoned and alone. She remembers the days she and Bill sat in his workshop making neon signs for the streets of Hong Kong.
Mei consoles herself by doing housework, and whilst emptying the tumble dryer she finds a key to Bill’s Neon Workshop, she hangs it up and goes about her chores. Believing the workshop closed down ten years ago, it seems strange that the workshop has accumulated many debts and unpaid rent, so curiosity gets the better of Mei. She heads to the old workshop and finds that it looks lived in, and in the gloom she sees a light waving about behind a curtain. With trepidation, she pulls back the curtain, and is faced by a strange visage, it is Leo (Henick Chou), a troubled youth who has always failed at fitting in, but Bill had given him a chance to follow in his footsteps, and eventually he would graduate. Leo didn’t know that Bill had passed away weeks ago. What Leo tells Mei is that Bill wanted to recreate a neon sign that had been taken down due to the new laws banning the thousands of signs that lined the busy streets years ago.
Bill and Mei had a daughter, Prism (Cecilia Choi, Beyond the Dream, Drifting) who has stayed pretty aloof, even before Bill’s death, probably because she is too much like her mother, (critical). She also dislikes Leo, due to the amount of time he has spent with her father.
You can’t even write, how can you make neon signs?
She also points out that neither Leo nor her mother have a clue what they are doing when it comes to trying to make the workshop a viable option, since her father worked for free during the SARS outbreak.
There is legend in our industry, saying neon lights have a life of their own, when you make a wish, and if it blinks, then your wish will come true.
Mei and Leo are on a mission to recreate Bill’s dying wish, but they will face many challenges, including Mei’s stubbornness, but it will all be emotional.
A Light Never Goes Out is a masterful piece of writing, that really pulls at the heartstrings. A true tribute to the craftsmen that changed the face of Hong Kong, be sure to watch the credits to see their true legacy. This film has winner written all over it. What a way to start your writing/directorial career.
|Starring||Sylvia Chang, Alma Kwok, Simon Yam, Jacky Hoo-Yin Tong, Cecilia Choi|