Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice shows how a change of scenery can make you happy.

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As much as she loves Hong Kong, Josie Ho happily acknowledges the challenges of living in the eighth most densely populated and most expensive city on the planet.

“Hong Kong is super dope if you can find your niche,” enthuses the iconic actor and musician. It starts to get really intense.Imagine 300 square feet with brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.”

So Hong Kong is one of the world’s greatest cities, but also one of the fiercest.It provides a breakthrough point Finding Bliss: Fire and Iceis a moving documentary about a group of always-stressed Hong Kong creatives, including famous musicians, actors and students, who are transported to one of the most famous happy places on earth: Iceland.

From the government crackdown on student protesters to the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdowns, Hong Kong has faced unprecedented stress over the past few years. However, Ho points out: Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice – coming from her famous 852 Films production company – are deeply rooted in the past.

“We started this documentary before social issues and pandemics,” says Ho. “The fear and resentment of the people of Hong Kong stems from Hong Kong’s extremely fast pace and tight population density, creating an extreme pressure cooker environment. With the addition of human rule, it has a rather confused and frightened mind.”

the question Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice The question is whether immersing people in a new culture can change the way they think.

Iceland (population 366,000) is consistently ranked as one of the top three happiest places on earth by the World Happiness Report, a United Nations initiative in which respondents rate their quality of life. increase. Hong Kong, on the other hand, was her No. 81 in March last year, her No. 1 behind Russia.

for Finding Bliss: Fire and IceArtists ranged from Hong Kong rapper and graffiti artist MC Yan to BMX icon Jimmy Mak to members of Ho’s music project Josie Ho and Uni Boys. All were asked if they were interested in going to Iceland to hang out and jam with the musicians there.

“The process was very organic,” Ho reveals. “The musicians we chose for this film were basically musicians I had worked with before. I didn’t have to. I noticed that when I was playing with the band, they pretty much stayed in the same place and just nodded.”

Once an artist is selected, Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice When they landed in Iceland, they found the reason for their trip was a little different than they expected. Successful and often stressed cast members attend workshops designed to rebuild their outlook on life through clowning and seemingly nonsensical games.

Eventually, the walls are torn down and the assembled artists learn that there is more to the hustle and bustle and pain that comes with working tirelessly in a pressure cooker city.

In one of the film’s most moving moments, Yvonne Wang, a student committed to a career in Hong Kong, takes to the streets of Iceland to sing for the simple joy of singing. Her message is as clear as it will change her life. Forget money and fame. Nothing feels better than making connections with fellow humans.

“Throughout the film, you get to see why Icelanders are so happy,” Ho says. “This is because they understand that the value of people is the only thing you have. The biggest challenge for Icelanders is the weather. Then materialism means nothing.People matter.”

Consider this a lesson not only for the people of Hong Kong, who are endlessly overwhelmed, but for everyone who is currently caught in an endless loop where all that seems to matter is work and accumulation of things. requirement.

I asked her what message she wanted to convey Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice – which she calls “a delicate gift to humanity” – Ho doesn’t hesitate.

“With all the rhetoric out there, I hope they feel something different,” she says. “A sense of something simple, compassionate, loving.”

josie ho movie, Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice had North American Premiere at the 2022 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF). It is the 20th anniversary event and the first face-to-face festival in two years. NYAFF was held July 15-31, 2022 at the Film At Lincoln Center & Asia Society in New York City.

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Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice shows how a change of scenery can make you happy.

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