Japan Foundation

International Premiere
Fantasia Retro

What's Up Connection

Directed by Masashi Yamamoto



Masashi Yamamoto


Isamu Uno, Masashi Yamamoto


Reiko Arai, Hideo Murota, Michiko Suzuki, Tse Wai Kit


Toshinori Kondo


Chikako Fukuda


Kani Releasing

Japan, Hong Kong 1990 121 mins OV Cantonese/Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre DramaComedy

When Hong Kong teenager Chi Gau Shin (Tse Wai Kit, SCHOOL ON FIRE) wins a trip to Japan, he unleashes a chain of events that will soon bring him from the secluded fishing village of Po Toi O to Tokyo by way of Kamagasaki, the so-called slums of Osaka. Upon returning home, he also finds his family of resourceful grifters on the verge of expropriation: a multinational conglomerate led by a ruthless Japanese developer has found the village, and is determined to raze it to build the new centre of world trade!

Punk filmmaker Masashi Yamamoto (WONDERFUL PARADISE, Fantasia 2021) follows ROBINSON’S GARDEN (1987) with the go-for-broke ambition of WHAT’S UP CONNECTION, a rare bilingual Japan-Hong Kong coproduction virtually unseen since its release in 1990, and now restored from 35mm elements. Part globalization mini-epic, fringe documentary and portrait of a crazy family (in a nod, perhaps, to peer Sogo Ishii’s 1984 CRAZY FAMILY), it is a breathless evocation of a specific pan-Asian cultural experience. Which is to say, WHAT’S UP has it all: Hongkongers looking to Japan for shopping and recreation; Japanese looking to Hong Kong for investment and opportunity—and the gangsters, hackers, thieves, and Taoist priests stuck in-between it all. Scored by avant-garde trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, it bursts at the seams with energy and possibility, and brings Yamamoto’s project of capturing beauty and resilience in the margins of capital to its maximalist apex. – Ariel Esteban Cayer