Inflight entertainment

Movies to watch onboard right now

The best onboard movies over the coming months. By KEVIN MA

The voices of women have been sorely lacking in Hong Kong cinema. Female directors have Ann Hui (Summer Snow, The Way We Are) to aspire to, but not many of them have been able to reach her level of success.

Kearen Pang may be the new female directorial voice that Hong Kong needs. A star playwright, Pang made her film directorial debut last year with 29+1, an adaptation of the play that she wrote, directed and performed 91 times over multiple runs.

Originally written just before Pang turned 30 herself, 29+1 is about the lives of two Hong Kong women on the cusp of their big birthday. We first meet Christy (Chrissie Chau), a career woman juggling new work responsibilities, caring for a father with Alzheimer’s and watching her relationship with her long-time boyfriend fall apart. Pang introduces Christy with a rapid-fire montage detailing her morning pre-work regime, an exhilarating sequence that immediately sets the film apart from the play.


Christy’s outlook in life starts to change when she reads a diary left behind by her new flat’s previous tenant, Joyce (Joyce Cheng), a peppy music shop assistant who seems unfazed even in the worst circumstances.

Pang played both roles in the stage version, but she passes the acting duties here to her two stars, which creates a sharper contrast between the two characters. Chau deftly handles the emotional rollercoaster of a woman constantly on the verge of breakdown, while Cheng is adorable as the eternal optimist. Pang’s experience as an actress and a theatre director guides the two actors to their best performances to date.

29+1 is a rare female-led Hong Kong film that isn’t a Sex and the City clone focusing on romantic entanglements. Instead it takes a bittersweet look at expectations that Hong Kong women face in both their professional and private lives, and the disappointments that inevitably follow. It’s one of the best Hong Kong films of the year.

Inflight Therapy

Need to watch something to get you through your journey? Check how you’re feeling from our handy list of entertainment-related symptoms

Restless Traveller Sydrome

Fidgety? Can’t concentrate? You need to get engrossed in something. Try these.

This is Not What I Expected (21)_web

Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer go on a jungle trek in mother-daughter comedy Snatched (movies – Western cinema). Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Dongyu bond over mouthwatering food in romantic comedy This is Not What I Expected! (movies – Chinese cinema) (above). The fate of tech company Pied Piper hangs in the balance in the fourth season of Emmy award-winning comedy Silicon Valley (TV – comedy). Comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon go on a hilarious foodie road trip in pseudo-documentary The Trip (TV – lifestyle). 

Altitude-Adjusted Lachrymosity Syndrome

It’s a physiological fact – we get weepy at 35,000 feet. Why fight it?

The Fault in Our Stars

Two teenage cancer patients fall in love in The Fault in Our Stars (movies – Western classics) (above), while two women approaching 30 re-examine their lives in Hong Kong drama 29+1 (movies – Chinese cinema). Director Karan Johar tells a devastating story of unrequited love in Bollywood romance Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (movies – Asian cinema), while director Spike Jonze shares a bittersweet tale about urban loneliness in Oscar-winning drama Her (movies – Western classics).

Pointy-Headed Syndrome

You’re not feeling very mainstream today. Time to get arty. Experiment a little.

Richard Gere stars as a small-time fixer who befriends a politician in indie drama Norman (movies – Western cinema). A monk uses his flower arranging skills to create peace in Japanese period drama Flower and Sword (movies – Asian cinema). Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat drags her friends into a strange missing person mystery in dark comedy Search Party (TV – comedy). Morgan Freeman investigates what it would take to unlock the genius in our minds in Through the Wormhole (TV – documentary) (above).

Fear of Missing Out

Everyone’s talking about this movie or TV show. What do you mean you’ve not seen it?

The Fate of the Furious

Join the Guardians on another intergalactic adventure in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (movies – Western cinema). Take a high-octane ride with Vin Diesel and the gang in The Fate of the Furious (movies – Western cinema) (above). Aspiring K-pop stars get their chance at fame in the second season of South Korean reality TV show Produce 101 (TV – TV Asia). Ti Lung, Chow Yun-fat and Leslie Cheung star in timeless tale of brotherhood A Better Tomorrow (movies – Chinese classics).


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Cathay Travell Book


Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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