2023.10.24 [Event Reports]
Flying Across One Country, Two Systems


©2023 TIFF

“Whether I’m in Hunan or Hong Kong, I am always treated as an outsider.” This iconic line from a struggling daughter, torn between her identity as a Hong Konger and a Mainlander, captures the essence of Fly Me to the Moon. Produced by Stanley Kwan, this directorial debut of Sasha Chuk chronicles the struggles of an immigrant family in three different time frames every 10 years: in 1997, 2007, and 2017. Told mostly from the perspective of the elder sister, Yuen, the film quietly but powerfully depicts the issues of poverty, cultural barriers, and drug addiction. More observant than judgmental, Fly Me to the Moon is a sincere portrait of personal struggles against the backdrop of the political contexts in Hong Kong.
Selected for the Asian Future section of the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival, the film welcomed its world premiere screening on TIFF’s opening night, October 23. “I’m so happy to be here at TIFF with my whole family. This is like a family trip,” said the director in fluent Japanese, appearing for a Q&A session along with six of her actors, including Wu Kang-ren, Angela Yuen, Yoyo Tse, Natalie Hsu, Wu Chien-ho and Chloe Hui.
Fly Me to the Moon has been a passion project for Chuk, who also penned the screenplay based on her autobiographical novel and plays Yuen in the 2017 episode. As Chuk told the audience, “I’m from Hunan and I moved to Hong Kong when I was a child. I spent all my life being treated as an outsider, including the time when I went to university overseas. So wherever I am, I am an outsider. And I really wanted to depict my experience.”
Along with the portrayal of the personal lives of immigrants in Hong Kong, the film also alludes to the systematic issues that perpetuate their status as outsiders. Explaining the letter the younger sister receives in the film, Chuk noted, “She did not come through the official route to Hong Kong. That letter was a subpoena from court, but she wouldn’t go because once she goes, she wouldn’t be able to return.”
Taiwanese superstar Wu Kang-ren, who plays the role of a good-for-nothing father, was asked about the reason he decided to take on the role, despite his heroic star persona. Wu laughed and said, “Actually, I’ve played some terrible roles in Taiwanese films as well.” “I really love scripts from Hong Kong,” continued Wu, “In my personal life, I lost my father last year. After he passed away, I received this offer. When I read the script, I was quite surprised because there was something in the story in common with what I actually experienced in my relationship with my own father. So I definitely wanted to play this role.”
Being a Taiwanese actor, however, playing the same character in three different eras with various dialects was challenging. Wu recalled, “To be honest, every era was very, very difficult because I do not speak Cantonese very well. Nor Hunanese. So in every era, I had so many [linguistic] difficulties.”
In closing remarks, Yoyo Tse, who plays the younger sister in the 2017 episode, concisely summarized what seems to be the main takeaway from Fly Me to the Moon: “After watching this film, I hope everybody will start being really kind to your father so that you won’t have to suffer like the elder sister.”
Q&A Session: Competition
Fly Me to the Moon
Guests: Sasha Chuk (Director/Screenwriter/Actor), Wu Kang-ren (Actor), Angela Yuen (Actor), Yoyo Tse (Actor), Natalie Hsu (Actor), Wu Chien-ho (Actor), Chloe Hui (Actor)

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