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Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All

Kara Hui (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) | Lawrence Chou (Actor) | Teresa Mak (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Two lonely souls form an unlikely bond in the moving Hong Kong drama Happiness starring Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress winner Kara Hui and Carlos Chan (To The Fore). Seasoned screenwriter Andy Lo Yiu Fai, whose writing credits include My Name is Fame, Crazy N`the City and Enter the Phoenix, directs the poignant grassroots story of an angry young man who gradually changes for the better through his chance acquaintance with a landlord suffering from dementia.

Short-tempered youth Yuk (Carlos Chan) moved from Mainland China back to Hong Kong after his mother's death, but he's had no luck reaching his estranged father. After losing his job and his room, he invites himself into the home of Aunt Fanny (Kara Hui), an absentminded older woman he met by chance on the street. Though still prone to angry outbursts, Yuk gradually gets his life together as he starts working at a community center and forms a bickering makeshift family with his eccentric landlord. However, they soon learn that Fanny's memory lapses are actually dementia symptoms that will worsen over time, and Yuk is her only possible caregiver.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 幸運是我 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 幸运是我 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 幸運是我 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Kara Hui (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) | Lawrence Chou (Actor) | Teresa Mak (Actor) | Chin Siu Ho (Actor) | Siu Yam Yam (Actor) | Yan Ng (Actor) | Louis Cheung (Actor) | Lam Siu Ha (Actor) | James Ng (Actor) | Liu Ya Se (Actor) | Stephanie Che (Actor) | Celia K (Actor) 惠 英紅 (Actor) | 陳家樂 (Actor) | 周 俊偉 (Actor) | 麥家琪 (Actor) | 錢小豪 (Actor) | 邵音音 (Actor) | 吳日言 (Actor) | 張 繼聰 (Actor) | 林 兆霞 (Actor) | 吳 業坤 (Actor) | 劉 雅瑟 (Actor) | 車婉婉 (Actor) | 郭 穎兒 (Actor) 惠 英红 (Actor) | 陈家乐 (Actor) | 周 俊伟 (Actor) | 麦家琪 (Actor) | 钱小豪 (Actor) | 邵音音 (Actor) | 吴日言 (Actor) | 张 继聪 (Actor) | 林 兆霞 (Actor) | 吴 业坤 (Actor) | 刘 雅瑟 (Actor) | 车婉婉 (Actor) | 郭 颖儿 (Actor) 恵英紅(クララ・ワイ) (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) | 周俊偉(ローレンス・チョウ) (Actor) | 麥家[王其](テレサ・マク) (Actor) | 錢小豪(チン・シウホウ) (Actor) | 邵音音(シウ・ヤムヤム) (Actor) | 呉日言(イェン・ン) (Actor) | 張繼聰 (ルイス・チョン) (Actor) | Lam Siu Ha (Actor) | James Ng (Actor) | 劉雅瑟(リウ・ヤースー) (Actor) | 車婉婉(ステファニー・チェー) (Actor) | Celia K (Actor) Kara Hui (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) | Lawrence Chou (Actor) | Teresa Mak (Actor) | Chin Siu Ho (Actor) | Siu Yam Yam (Actor) | Yan Ng (Actor) | Louis Cheung (Actor) | Lam Siu Ha (Actor) | James Ng (Actor) | Liu Ya Se (Actor) | Stephanie Che (Actor) | Celia K (Actor)
Director: Andy Lo 羅 耀輝 罗 耀辉 羅耀輝 Andy Lo
Writer: Andy Lo 羅 耀輝 罗 耀辉 羅耀輝 Andy Lo
Release Date: 2016-11-24
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-9
Region Code: All Region What is it?
Rating: IIB
Duration: 111 (mins)
Publisher: CN Entertainment Ltd.
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1055114659

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Trailers
- The Making Of Happiness
- Focus On Locations
- Deleted Scenes
- Slideshow

Alone and homeless, Yuk is taken in by Auntie Fan (Kara Wai), a middle-aged recluse who leads a solitary existence. At first, their different habits and personalities lead to numerous squabbles, intensified by Yuk’s self-centeredness and Fan’s odd temperament. As time goes on, Yuk learns Fan is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The discovery unexpectedly serves as a catalyst for the young man’s growth as a caring friend. For the first time in her life, Fan feels truly blessed. But it is a situation rife with irony due to the nature of her disease and the accelerating elusiveness of feelings and memories.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

December 30, 2016

Director Andy Lo Yiu-Fai makes a fine feature debut with the flawed yet quietly effective drama Happiness. A longtime screenwriter for the good (Crazy n' the City), the bad (The Park) and the ugly (Here Comes Fortune), Lo previously wrote and directed "Can’t Stop the Killing", a segment of the omnibus film Hardcore Comedy. As a director, Lo did a decent job with the thirty-minute segment, and showed that he can handle different characters and tones. However, his screenplay was terribly overwritten, with too much voiceover and too many unnecessary details that required even more voiceover. "Can’t Stop the Killing" was rife with Hong Kong screenwriting problems, but they're problems that Lo manages to correct for Happiness. This grounded drama is notable for its lack of voiceover and overt exposition, and finds its greatest strengths in character interaction and growth. Here we get to see things happen instead of listening to someone tell us that they did. If you consider what medium we're talking about – moving pictures a.k.a. cinema – Lo's improvement is a welcome development.

Happiness tells the story of Chan Kai-Yuk (Carlos Chan), who arrives in Hong Kong from China after his mother dies to search for his father Chan Fung (Chin Siu-Ho). However, Chan Fung pointedly avoids his son, and in trying to exist day-to-day, Kai-Yuk forms a connection with the aged and addled Tse Yuen-Fan (Kara Wai), who informally goes by Aunt Fanny. At first, the disaffected Kai-Yuk selfishly exploits Aunt Fanny. He arranges to become her lodger through minor dishonesty, and achieves major dishonesty by taking advantage of her cognitive impairment to swindle her. However, a bond eventually forms between the two that grows stronger by the day. Kai-Yuk finds a job at a charity community center and befriends Xiaoyue (Cya Liu), a visiting student from the mainland. Meanwhile, Aunt Fanny grows more forgetful and finally visits a doctor for an evaluation. Eventually, Kai-Yuk and Aunt Fanny discover that they can give one another something that the other quietly and desperately needs. And that's pretty much all that happens in Happiness. I just saved you two hours.

However, the barebones story of Happiness isn't what makes it work – it's the development and depth of the relationship between Aunt Fanny and Kai-Yuk, and also Kara Hui's sublime performance, that make the film worthwhile. Hui finds a remarkable balance in her portrayal of Aunt Fanny. Depending on the situation, Aunt Fanny can be obstinate, vulnerable, distrustful, sweet or fiery, and Hui infuses every emotion with decency and humanity. Her performance ultimately creates most of the film's tension, as the audience is left to wonder just how advanced Aunt Fanny's issues are. Is she going to slip further into dementia, and will the film culminate in her passing? These questions aren't posed explicitly, and yet naturally arise because it's so easy to care about Aunt Fanny. Unfortunately, Carlos Chan is no match for Kara Hui. Chan is OK in some scenes, but he can't string every moment together credibly. Sometimes it feels like Chan is serving individual scenes instead of using each scene to serve his character, leading to his performance feeling shallow and disconnected.

What's remarkable about the disparity in the performances is that Kai-Yuk is the film's protagonist, but because of Kara Hui's acting it feels like the main character is actually Aunt Fanny. Kai-Yuk participates in every subplot, and he gets the character arc on which the whole narrative turns. However, it's Aunt Fanny who holds all the attention, and delivers the subtle, affecting moments that make you care where the story is heading. Some storylines serve Kai-Yuk decently; the one involving his father leads to some surprising emotional moments, and Chin Siu-Ho is strong in a brief but spot-on performance as Chan Fung. Of all Kai-Yuk's subplots, the relationship with Xiaoyue has the most potential as it's an opportunity for growth instead of more reflection or contemplation. However, that storyline – the most the film can muster for a romantic subplot – reuses hackneyed devices involving fate and serendipitous connection. This is stuff that's common to many other Hong Kong dramas or romances and feels ill-fitting with Happiness’s largely subtle story and development.

Also, some of the film's quirky touches don't entirely work. Louis Cheung plays Kai-Yuk's workmate, a chef who seems to take exceptional pleasure in just about everything that he does, and while Cheung's performance is generally fine, the character isn't developed enough to make his scenes into more than tangential distractions. On the plus side, Happiness never tries too hard for significance, which makes its plot turns more effective and resonant than similar films dealing with age, loss and relationships (a good example would be the 2010 film Merry-Go-Round). The script also touches on some social issues and yet doesn't proselytize, and manages to never become egregiously sappy or sentimental – though it does come close on occasion. Nothing quite shores up the film's biggest flaw – that Kai-Yuk doesn’t feel like the main character even though that's what he’s supposed to be – but thanks to Kara Hui's indelible work, Happiness still feels like a win for director-screenwriter Andy Lo. A low-key and surprising Hong Kong Cinema success.

by Kozo -

Editor's Pick of "Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Picked By Sanwei
See all this editor's picks

November 29, 2016

Watch it for Kara Hui
Screenwriter Andy Lo Yiu Fai's first solo directorial feature Happiness depicts the makeshift familial bond that develops between an angry young man and his landlord, an absentminded older woman with early signs of dementia. Though it has the kind of synopsis that seemingly sets the audience up for big tear-jerking moments and life lessons, the film takes a subtler, less weepy route, and is all the better for it.

Carlos Chan plays Yuk, a young cook who moves from mainland China to Hong Kong after losing his mother. A flawed but fundamentally decent guy, the temperamental Yuk treats his girlfriend terribly one moment, and takes the time to help out a stranger on the street another moment. After meeting Aunt Fanny (Kara Hui) by chance, he convinces her to take him in as a tenant, and the two quickly settle into a comfortable, bickering rapport. Yuk occasionally takes advantage of Aunt Fanny's forgetfulness, but also looks out for her in his own grouchy way. After getting a job at a community center, he meets more kind people who nudge him towards opening his heart and fixing his bad attitude. When Aunt Fanny is diagnosed with dementia, Yuk is suddenly faced with the responsibility of taking care of her.

Carlos Chan is perfectly serviceable as Yuk, but it's Kara Hui who carries the film in a wonderful appearance that stands out as this year's best leading actress performance in Hong Kong cinema. Aunt Fanny is easily distracted yet sharp-witted, big-hearted yet pragmatically minded. She needs help but not pity, just as she extends help without pity, and Kara Hui plays her with a genuine, moving sense of dignity, vigor and vulnerability.

Happiness could have easily gone in a more melodramatic direction with Yuk's troubles and estrangement from his father (Chin Siu Ho in a brief but memorable appearance) and with Fanny's deteriorating faculties, but Lo chooses to tell a restrained, realistic story of two people taking things as they come. Lo, whose screenwriting credits include solid local efforts like My Name is Fame and Crazy N`the City, makes his wisest narrative decision in where he stops the story. Rather than spelling out the journey to a tragic or triumphant endpoint, the film captures life in progress, with struggles, changes and small moments of Happiness.

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