Hong Kong cinema can be ferocious, melancholy, ironic, depressive, and deeply idealistic. Young director Jun Li’s Drifting shows how you make a movie that is all of these, at once. Drifting is a paean to homeless heroes and regular humans, drug addicts and sex workers, abused by authority, who live on the city’s streets, fiercely determined to preserve their dignity. The great actor Francis Ng plays tragic hero Fai, who incarnates the indomitable spirit of Hong Kongers. When cops break up a group of unhoused folk’s shelters and steal Fai’s belongings, he rouses his streetwise compadres to assert their rights.
Li captures unglamorous Hong Kong street spaces with brilliant authenticity. His characters feel real, not idealized; and the way they struggle with and through their weaknesses, with few allies and in a callous urban environment, makes for riveting cinema. Inspired by Ann Hui’s cinema of social responsibility, Jun Li advances this proud and vitally important tradition of Hong Kong cinema right up to the present.
Jun Li (b. 1991) studied journalism in Hong Kong and gender studies at Cambridge. He released two short films before directing his feature debut Tracey (2018), a transgender drama, which premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Drifting is his second feature film.
This film is part of
Original title 濁水漂流
Country Hong Kong
Director Jun Li
Screenplay Jun Li
Cinematography Ming-Kai Leung
Producer Pui-Hing Man, Flora Tang
Cast Singh Hartihan Bitto, Cecilia Choi, Pak Hon Chu
Production Company MM2 Studios Hong Kong
Runtime 1h 52m
Age limit 15
This film is in competition for the Audience Award.