12 Faces of Woman
12 Faces of Woman
Chan Fai-young and 12 Directors
Concert Hall, City Hall
Reviewed: Mar 2
Concerts with video projections are nothing new, but composer Chan Fai-young commissioned short films from 12 artists - from experienced directors and animators to pop singers - with the brief that they be inspired by a new piece of his music and that they focus on the theme of womanhood.
With 12 Faces of Woman, Chan has proved himself to be one of Hong Kong's most versatile pop composers. The numbers, performed by a musical ensemble featuring both western and Chinese instruments (with the odd glitch from recorded electronica), demonstrate his range, from fluffy pop to slick lounge, harp-zheng hybrids and sweeping pieces that hit the right note with wonderful consistency.
Some of the video work was graceful in its own right as well as a complement to Chan's music, such as Wing Shya's mesmerising, digitally doctored sequence showing a spinning dancer for the track I Dance My Own Dance. But others fell wide of the mark - notably the contributions of Louis Koo Tin-lok and Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin. Lin Xi's Vissi d'arte would probably have enraged admirers of Lao Tzu by roping the philosopher's work into an exercise that casts women as mere sex objects awaiting the male gaze.
Other contributors appeared to cannibalise their own work. Yan Yan Mak's visually ravishing So Poetic, for example, resembled her lesbian-love piece Butterfly filtered through the prism of Derek Jarman's The Last of England.
Composer Peter Kam Pui-tat's 3000 Years Later, the show's moving grand finale, sets Chan's melancholy music to writer Chan Wai's take on a woman's heartbroken ode to a long-faded romance, compellingly delivered by veteran actress Lee Heung-kam. It was the remembrance of a faltered love but also played on collective memories through a collage of historic landmarks and offered a stunning conclusion to an evening of great music and variable visuals.