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我要成名 (2006)
My Name Is Fame


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/10/2010

Making movies that are about making movies is often a dicey proposition, since they can quickly turn into self-referential meta-pandering twaddle. Lawrence Lau's 2006 release My Name is Fame manages to transcend that trap, in no small part due to Lau Ching-Wan's strong performance. Even if you're not a huge Hong Kong movie buff and don't get some of the in-jokes presented here, you'll still most likely find this to be a winning dramedy.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 03/06/2008
Summary: Nice.

In reflection, I don't think Lau Ching-Wan has ever given a bad performance. Of course, he has been in some bad films, but those films were not bad because of his contribution. Lawrence Lau Kwok-Cheong's My Name is Fame takes a sensitive, compelling look at life inside the Hong Kong movie film industry. Casting Lau as an actor who has seen the ups and downs of the business is sheer genius and cleverly ironic. Director Lau has shaded his film with broad strokes of irony, in fact. He uses real actors, creative, and technical personnel to give his movie a sublime documentary feel. This is a must-see for any fan of Hong Kong movies.


happyfortune.org

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 12/25/2007

Some movies succeed if the audience likes the characters while others—those involving car chases, slaughtered teenagers, gratuitous nudity or talking animals, for example—don’t. “My Name is Fame” falls into the first category and it would take an extremely hard heart not to love Poon Kar Fai and Faye Ng, its principal characters. Talented old pro Lau Ching-Wan plays a talented if underemployed character actor while attractive and energetic newcomer Fok Sze-Yin plays a tireless ingénue, happy to throw herself onto a tile floor for twenty straight takes if the director wants her to. It is a soft edged and romanticized look at the Hong Kong movie business, the kind of movie that those in the industry love since it skips all the heartbreak, ambition, jealousy, bad taste and cutthroat business practices that are part of the business everywhere.

No one is really unhappy or even particularly challenged by life. Wai is Fai’s old friend from acting school who gave up show business after eight years to open a car repair shop. He isn’t bitter toward those who have been successful—one of his customers is Tony Leung Ka-Fai who treats Wai as a fellow professional and who has words of encouragement and advice for Fai. Fai himself, while an artist whose need for perfection doesn’t work in the movie and television world of Hong Kong, isn’t the kind of truly annoying and ridiculous actor portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie” or conniving seducer like Terence Stamp in “My Wife is an Actress”. He doesn’t alienate those who have the power to employ him—he is obviously well liked by everyone on the sets where he is shown working but since he is one of hundreds of actors who are capable and available for supporting roles he is called less and less.

At times Fai is as grandiloquent and full of portentous advice as Polonius in “Hamlet” (To thy own self be true and all that). He is easy to forgive, though because we have already seen him break every one of he rules he lays down for Faye: don’t argue with the director, don’t improvise on the set, stay in character whenever you are in costume are just a few that he obviously doesn’t follow himself. Unlike Polonius he really means what he says and knows it works even if it is beyond him.

Faye has a smooth path from recent immigrant with bad Cantonese to international movie queen. No evil executives invite her to audition on the casting couch; she is surrounded by supportive artists and technicians and she is able to survive in a very expensive city without a day job. The toughest that things get for her is when two other bit players in a scene laugh at her when she continues to blow a hooker’s pick-up line. On an actual movie set, of course, she would have been replaced right away. This sequence is important, though, because it brings to the fore what “My Name is Fame” is really concerned with: film acting. Faye begins the scene as a bumbling amateur who can neither hit her mark nor say her line. During a break Fai coaches her to bring back the sense memory and emotional recall he has taught her so that she returns to the set and nails the scene as well as any actress in the world could.

The still gorgeous Candace Yu On-On has an important role as Fai’s former wife. She is a talent agent who runs her operation out of her home and has enough connections to get small roles for the many aspiring actresses who hang around her living room. She meets Fai for a drink, puts up with his drunken oafishness and takes him home to bed. There is still a strong bond—respect and friendship if not love—between the two. Yu brings just the right amount of acceptance, rueful sexiness and middle-aged practicality to the character.

While we expect movies to be “real”—to mirror or mimic reality enough so that we can identify with the characters and situations—we don’t want them to be too real and “My Name is Fame” does this very well. We know the movie business—or any business—isn’t like it is portrayed here but we want to believe and have been conditioned to accept that talent and hard work are enough to get to the top. Both Fai and Faye are people it is easy to root for—we want them to succeed and to do so through their own efforts. Their friends and family are decent, likeable people who we would like as our friends and (possibly) family. Their coworkers are diligent, interested only in making sure the director’s vision gets on the screen. It is a fairyland with no more relationship with day to day reality than any movie, fun to watch and very entertaining.

Recommended

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 10/31/2007
Summary: a star is born...

poon ka fai (lau ching-wan) is an actor with a reputation; having won the 'best newcomer' award, in his twenties, fai's love of acting and refusal to accept second best, has resulted in him being labelled as a talented, but awkward, and he now finds roles increasingly hard to come by. faye ng (fok sze-yin) is at the other end of the acting spectrum; she has recently moved from the mainland to hong kong but, despite having some natural talent, lacks direction and is currently making do with as many minor roles as she can come by.

when fai's ex-fiance, casting agent qiqi (candice yu), has problems finding a chaperone for faye, fai steps in and takes her to the shoot. when he sees her struggling with the role, he can't help but give her guidance; this sparks off a relationship between the two, with fai mentoring faye in the art of acting. will fay have what it takes to succeed and is fai resigned to the fact that his career, as an actor, may be over or will he find this experience rejuvinating?

essentially, this is an update of the 'a star is born' story, but transplanted to hong kong and including some musings on the nature of its film industry. and, who better to play the role of a talented character actor, who doesn't seem to get anywhere near the recognition which he deserves, than lau ching-wan; who, ironically, received his first hong kong film academy 'best male actor' award (the eighth time he'd been a nominee) for the role.

lawrence lau manages to craft an engaging, likeable drama, which isn't short on comedy, some romance and still manages to avoid the pitfalls which can beset such an underdog tale. alongside lau, thanks for this, must surely go to the two leads; lau ching-wan and fok sze-yin (even if she is clearly dubbed throughout), who manage to flesh out their characters and, more importantly, make you want them to succeed. alongside lau and fok, are a host of other familiar faces, in a film which is littered with cameos; from gordan chan, fruit chan and anne hui, to tony leung, ekin cheng and fiona sit, to name but a few.

so, there you go, a quality cast, script and direction, making for a quality film...

great stuff...


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/29/2007

Lau Ching-Wan plays an actor whose outspoken nature and disillusionment have led his career to the point of extinction, who meets an aspiring young actress that worships him and begs him to take her under his wing. He shares his experience with her, and her enthusiasm and dedication rub on off him to mutually beneficial effect.

MY NAME IS FAME is very much a companion piece to Derek Yee's VIVA EROTICA (in which Lau Ching Wan had a great guest appearance as... Derek Yee) - a look at the ups and downs of the HK film industry, with perhaps a more affectionate and optimistic view of it overall. Lau Ching-Wan plays the disillusioned veteran with professionalism, and newcomer Huo Si-Yan gives a stand-out performance as the naive newcomer (despite clearly being dubbed throughout). The film is packed with cameo appearances.

Smartly written and directed, and a great homage to Hong Kong's cinematic heritage.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: steve_cole1
Date: 02/23/2007
Summary: good film

I saw this on the way back from HK and its the first film ive seen Lau Ching Wan in a non cop/action role and its not a bad film at all and i quite enjoyed it.

Reviewer Score: 7