Hong Kong independent filmmaker Fruit Chan has represented social and political issues through metaphorical lens and narratives in Three Husbands.

Fruit Chan, one of the iconic independent filmmakers has returned to the public eye with the last installment of his ‘prostitution trilogy’, Three Husbands. The film won Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress at the 25th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, allowing it to gain more nominations and recognition in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. 

Fruit Chan and the screenwriter, Mr. Lam Kee To had came to HKU in March to further share their experiences in the absence of financial support and superstars.

SPOILER ALERT: What’s the movie about?
As per the movie title, Mui (Chloe Maayan) had three “husbands”. The first one, also known as the eldest brother (Mai Qiang), was both her father and the father of her newborn child. The eldest brother then married her off to an old fisherman,  the second brother (Man-Lei Chan). Since Mui suffered from mild sexual addiction, the two men pimped her out to the public. In other words, they exploited the intellectually disabled Mui who failed to express herself properly. The little brother (Chan Charm-man) fell in love with Mui after various sexual contacts and later became her husband. Yet, when he was unable to fulfill her sexual desire, her withdrawal symptoms drove her crazy and upset the three “husbands”. In the end, they all agreed to arrange Mui’s prostitution to sustain their family’s daily expenses.

“In this simple story of a local family, what I am trying to emphasize is the severity of economic inequality. Living in Hong Kong, a global financial centre, I would like to let the audience realize, even though the plot seems too extreme, there are still some families in Hong Kong feeling hopeless and struggling to earn a living,” Fruit Chan said, expressing his thoughts about Three Husbands in a discussion forum held last month at HKU.

Mr. Lam Kee To has added the legends of Lu Tings into the Three Husbands to highlight the origins of Hongkongers and hint story development.

Film reviews linked Three Husbands with the political aspects in Hong Kong, especially concerning Hong Kong’s relationship with Mainland China. Many viewers questioned if Mui’s character represented Hong Kong which had been invaded and colonized by many different countries in the past. 

Fruit responded, “When you write a screenplay, you always pay attention to your surrounding. Each movie from the ‘prostitution trilogy’ kept their pace with times. Things you noticed in the movie should resemble the current situation in Hong Kong at that particular period of time, capturing the mindset of Hongkongers. Therefore, what you have seen and got from the movie, they are all the messages that I would like to deliver.”

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