3006 by Matthew Leung
Films that treat their cities as characters elicit a certain melancholic sentimentality that other films don’t. This challenges the common notion that a city is and always will be an unfeeling and unresponsive entity. Sacramento in Lady Bird (2017), Fargo in Fargo (1994), Paris in The 400 Blows (1959), Tokyo in Tokyo Story (1953), Los Angeles in La La Land (2017) and Rome in Bicycle Thieves (1948) are only a handful of examples that demonstrate how a city can be suffocating, ironic, indifferent, unforgiving, rosy and cruel, respectively. The prominence of these movie cities eternally overwhelms their inhabitants with hope and despair at the same time. Characters traverse the spaces of their cities, just as well as these spaces confine characters. Since cinema is a device that not only captures, but also constructs spaces, cities come alive in the cinema in a way that they don’t in reality.
I was floating around the idea of shooting a short film in my home-city, Hong Kong, particularly so that I can explore the theme of loneliness, a theme I find firmly stitched into the fabric of the city. I owe my inspiration to none other than Wong Kar-wai, specifically from films like Days of Being Wild (1990), Chunking Express (1994), and In the Mood For Love (2000), all of which paint Hong Kong as a bustling city of lonely people awaken by chance encounters, at least temporarily, before they are met with the inevitable failure in sustaining fleeting connections. I was interested in going further to eliminate the element of chance encounter, and examine the psyche a heartbroken and lonely character who decides to begin a romance with her teddy bear.
Hong Kong is no doubt a lead character in 3006, as it is shown as an aloof entity that offers no consolation to the protagonist’s melancholy. Its busy streets, towering buildings and perpetually crowded metro stations are energized by its hurried inhabitants, who are destined to be disconnected with the protagonist’s desire to love. It is not a readily comprehensible notion that such a lively city breeds tragic loneliness, but there’s something about existing among strangers that makes one want to disappear and detach. Such is the experience of our protagonist, as she mindlessly moves through various spaces of the city alone. This desperation perhaps motivates her to turn to an inanimate object for solace, but she knows as well as anyone, that she is doomed to fail. Her relationship with Hong Kong is rooted in mine, and hopefully illuminates city life in a broader sense. This film is my love letter to Hong Kong, albeit a melancholic one, and I hope you find a piece of you and your city in it.