Review: ‘My Voice, My Life,’ a Story of Hong Kong Student Actors



“My Voice, My Life,” a documentary from Ruby Yang, focuses on students who are not high achievers preparing for a musical.


Opens on Friday
Directed by Ruby Yang
In Cantonese, with English subtitles
1 hour 31 minutes; not rated

There are few feelings as glorious as spreading your wings onstage for the first time. Ruby Yang captures that rare electricity in her documentary “My Voice, My Life,” about Hong Kong teenagers who put on a show.

These young actors — bouncy, naughty, striving, hesitant — are not the expected high achievers. Many come from schools on the lowest academic rung; some are blind; others have discernible behavioral or learning issues; a number of their families live in public housing.

Led by teachers with heart who push, pull, discipline and inspire them, the 31 performers undergo six tough months preparing their musical, “The Awakening,” which is patched together from familiar tunes appropriated from other shows. Student filmmakers shoot the unfolding action, and the final product incorporates their work.

The kids — among them Ah Bok (credited as Jason Chow), the handsome troublemaker; Fat Yin, the class clown (“He was so cute, like a steamed bun,” his principal says, showing an old photo); and Sio Fan, the visually impaired girl who takes such joy in dancing — are transformed by the experience.

Although “My Voice, My Life” lacks the raw emotion of “The Blood of Yingzhou District,” Ms. Yang’s Oscar-winning film on Chinese AIDS orphans, this movie does depict young lives changed, and perhaps saved.

And pain arises here, as cruelty does toward the shunned children in “The Blood of Yingzhou District.” Tsz Nok, who sings the male lead in “The Awakening,” lost his sight only the year before. His elegantly turned out mother is in denial and prefers to hide his condition, while her son faces it with equanimity and curiosity. HELEN T. VERONGOS

New York Times 2015-08-27 | 

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search