舊片重溫:《西謊極落》之苦中作樂 Self-deceiving as if you had a bigger room

This film titled The Sinking City: Capsule Odyssey screened in 2017 revealed the acute housing problem in Hong Kong. The actors and actresses were ridiculing in a wacky and lunatic manner to present this theme.

Pakho Chau in the movie was an editor writing online articles to introduce apartment units on behalf of real estate companies. Despite his great writing skills to promote buying properties for investment and speculation, in real life he was only a young man who was priced out of the property market. Upon graduation, he failed to move up the corporate ladder and was encumbered by study loans. Shiga Lin played his girlfriend in the movie. They rented a flat for HK$10,000 a month. Later on, he lied to his girlfriend that he had to work in New York for a year or two before returning to the Cantonese-speaking city.

The very fact was that he was moving into what Hongkongers described as ‘capsule bed’. He lowered his quality of life in a years-long quest to save enough money to buy his own flat. Capsule bed was just a polite way of describing ‘coffin room’–but it was a coffin with well-designed interior. Or I would say it is a premium version of cage home in Hong Kong. Put simply, the living condition was worse than what you had in subdivided flat.

Pakho Chau in the movie paid 2,000 plus HKD each month for a bed space for his night rest. That way, he would be able to save up to 8,000 HKD each month. But it would take him twelve years to save enough money to pay the down payment for his flat.

Andrew Lam played the boss of the unit which rented out capsule beds. He was always fooling around but wasn’t stupid at all. His tenants often found him to be professing seemingly right but factually wrong theories and business ideas. Louis Cheung and Joyce Cheng were lovely couple in the movie. They had no space for themselves and often found hourly motel to be fully occupied. If they wanted a space for intimacy, they would have to pay and rent the space. It looks sarcastic but this is the reality of housing problem in Hong Kong.

Bob in the movie was always acting for free for production house and he decided to get some money by robbing. BabyJohn Choi played Ah Fung, who was always dreaming of becoming a gangster. He thought he could dictate how things work when he became a gangster, only to have found out that an also-ran in the underworld would fail to change and adapt to the modern world to earn a living.

For non-Hongkonger, it would be difficult to imagine the experience of sleeping in a coffin room, let alone visualising a room / flat to be as tiny as a carpark lot. And you can only put a bicycle in your bathroom. However small it is, you still need to pay a lot of money to rent and use it in Hong Kong.

The more you pay, the smaller it gets. Despite such living condition in Hong Kong, the movie showcased that movie writers can still play around with their imagination to find joy in sorrows. But nobody can find joy when capsule bed rental goes higher and higher. As its Chinese-language excerpt said: “… amid the coffin-like spaces, the residents can’t even continue fooling themselves.”





戲中太空艙單位的老闆就是林敏驄,每天瘋瘋癲癲卻又傻不完,常常忽然爆出似是而非的理論或做生意的新點子,常常讓其他房客覺得很好笑。戲中的張繼聰跟女朋友Jenny (鄭欣宜)感情要好,但是苦無沒有空間親熱,常常跑到時租賓館卻又遇上客滿,想親熱卻又沒有空間,要有空間就要排隊付錢租個空間,看似諷刺卻又正正點出了香港房屋問題的死穴。

另外兩個房客由林盛斌 (Bob) 和蔡億瀚飾演。戲中的 Bob 常常幫人家免費拍戲,於是下決心搶劫找些錢回來,蔡億瀚則是飾演阿峰,每天幻想自己變成古惑仔,以為變成黑社會成員就可以呼風喚雨,後來才知道時代變遷之下當個黑幫小弟也一樣賺不到錢了。


這部電影正正說明了在香港「愈住愈貴﹑愈住愈細」的生活環境中,創作人依然可以發揮創意,苦中作樂。怕祇怕哪一天太空艙租金繼續攀高,那時候可能真的笑不出來了,正如電影的文案所述:「… 在這些有如棺材的住宅中,住著一幫快要連自己也騙不下去的人。」

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