Little Cheung is a street-wise nine-year-old boy living in neighborhood of Hong Kong. His parents are very busy maintaining their restaurant and when Little Cheung isn't helping them deliver orders, he spends most of his time with his grandmother and her Filipino maid Armi. That is until Little Cheung meets Fan, a young girl whose an illegal immigrant. Fruit Chan's Little Chueng is the final film in his informal trilogy (Made in Hong Kong & The Longest Summer) about life in Hong Kong post China's re-occupation. Early on, the film makes it quite apparent that Little Cheung is a mischevious, though overall well-intentioned, young boy whose always looking for a new way to make a buck. This all changes with the arrival of Fan. Fruit Chan spends a lot of time showing the relationship which forms between these two, with Fan ultimately being the device which initiates change in Little Cheung. With Fan, Little Cheung shows empathy for the first time, as learns of her struggles as an illegal immigrant. Parallel to their relationship exists Little Cheung's lack of relationship with his father, a strict man who keeps Little Cheung on a very short leash. We come to learn that this is because of Cheung's older brother, a gangster, who subsequently was disowned by his father. Being that the film is told for Little Cheung's perspective, the film reveals these details about his family in a slow, but guided fashion. Much of what transpires early on goes right over Cheung's head, yet the viewer is able to gather a lot about his family's past and the implications which they have on young Cheung and his family. It's with Little Cheung's newfound understanding in which he decides to go look for his brother, much to dismay of his father. Little Cheung is probably my least favorite of Fruit Chan's psuedo trilogy mainly because I never felt very emotionally attached. It's hard to pinpoint precisely why but I guess I never felt the stakes were high enough for Little Cheung and I certainly wanted more centered around Cheung's father's plight. Some of the blame could also be attributed to the young actor's rather limited talent, but the story also seemed a little confused about what it wanted to be.
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