Film Review: May We Chat

By Pui See Tsang

The introduction of Philip Yung’s film, May We Chat, uses intense, vivid imagery to capture the shallowness of contemporary youth culture. Teenagers in the film take numerous pictures of themselves and their possessions, and communicate via smartphones in an incredibly rapid fashion. Though the plot seems innocent at first, it later adopts a darker, more gruesome tone.

May We Chat is a play on the name of the enormously popular Chinese text-messaging application called WeChat. This addictive mobile app brings three schoolgirls together on an unforgettable journey through Hong Kong’s underground, which is rife with drugs, sex, thugs, and violence. The three schoolgirls are Chiu Wai-ying (Rainky Wai), Li Wing-yan (Kabby Hui) and Wai-wai (Heidi Li). Wai-ying is deaf-mute, lives with her grandma and earns money through compensated dating. Wing-yan is an emotionally unstable, spoiled girl who is only interested in high-end clothes and handsome boys. Wai-wai lives with her drug-addicted mother and resourceful little sister, but spends a majority of her time in the company of teenaged gang members.

May We Chat is one of the most energetic, tense and explicit films to come out of Hong Kong this year. While incredibly graphic in its depiction of an amoral society, the film provides a refreshing perspective on the city’s marginalized youth. Unlike most Hong Kong action movies, this film paints a realistic picture of Hong Kong’s alternative community.

You can catch May We chat screenings during New York Asian Film Festival at Film Society of Lincoln Center.

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