Generation Gap
Hong Kong 1973
Directed by Chang Cheh.


David Chiang, Agnes Chan, and Ti Lung get together for some serious angst in this film about the "generation gap" -- a title which I suppose must pertain to the empty space between the ears of almost every character in the film, where their brains should be.

David Chiang is a troubled youth, as anyone who looks at his blue striped pants can readily attest. He is in love, but unfortunately the object of his affection is a 16 year old girl (Agnes Chan, looking more like 12). They both defy their parents, run away from home, get disowned, and all the while trying to live an upright and honest life. "All I want is to be understood," David whines at one point in the picture, but he never is, and his life spirals out of control, and he falls in with a dangerous crowd. Agnes, meanwhile, just wants to be a singer, and so we are subjected to endless rounds of nightclub scenes in which her reed thin voice tries to carry various English language tunes.

Should they have listened to their parents? Or are their parents callous and unresponsive to their children? Chang Cheh would like us to believe his film is impartial in this debate. A caption at the beginning says "This movie does not take sides. It probes into the problems of youth...the struggle between the youth of today and the establishment." But anyone who has seen more than a handful of Cheh pictures knows this claim of impartiality is complete crap. Cheh revels in stories of the brash, impetuous youth. David Chiang played many such roles, Alexander Fu-Sheng (who appears here briefly in a cameo) ultimately defined them. His films celebrate youthful exuberance, headstrong, stubborn, naive, but goodhearted people who strive for justice, or love, or just strive for the hell of it. This is Chang Cheh's bread and butter, so you'd better believe that your sympathy will be with David Chiang and never leave it.

Ti Lung plays a small role in the film, even though the artwork for the Celestial DVD release features him prominently. He is David Chiang's older brother, the good, filial son who has gone to London to further his studies. Naturally they both know kung-fu, too, so the two of them can have it out, brother to brother, in one of the highlights of the picture. If there is anyone else who has a sympathetic viewpoint, it is him. But Ti Lung fans should note he's only around for about 15 minutes, tops. This is David Chiang's movie.

And Agnes Chan's movie, too. She was apparently trying to launch a singing career in the early seventies in Hong Kong, and Shaws must have picked her up for some films. Her gimmick appears to be singing in English, though she doesn't do it particularly well. After three years in Hong Kong, she went to Japan where she became a huge hit and was known as the "fairy who came from Hong Kong." She's quite the obnoxious little actress, but I came across an article about her in Stanford Magazine, Pop Star with a PhD, and it seems she grew up to be quite an amazing woman. Still, here's hoping I never have to hear her sing again.

Chang Cheh tackled the story of modern youth a year before in YOUNG PEOPLE. But in that film, the older generation is almost entirely absent, and the story centers on the youth, making the most of their abilities and believing they can do anything, and succeeding. THE GENERATION GAP introduces parents, and everything falls apart. Societal pressures push everyone over the edge. And that, my friends, is why you really should go away to college. Otherwise, living with your parents in such close quarters as you get older leads directly to a life of crime. Or so I gathered from THE GENERATION GAP.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on April 27, 2004.


Comments

David Chiang did a wonderful job in this movie, his on screen presence was excellent ! His charm and charisma is well displayed along with his emotions he shows on screen.

Many people seem to love discrediting David Chiang...but the gods honest truth is... that he simply "overshadows" Ti Lung in all movies they made together. It is well know in the Hong kong movie circle of the 70's and 80's according to all the polls.

" Peace and Happy Holidays to all "

Posted by: Lolita at December 4, 2004 02:30 AM

Hell Yeah ! David was cool in this movie, great acting if you ask me. It just shows you that people go thru the hardships in life all the same - this movie took me enjoyably back to the 70's.

Posted by: John at December 4, 2004 02:48 AM

Yes, John (David) Chiang was wonderful in this film, he showed "pure raw" action, "heart-felt emotion" and "intensity" . Very talented actor that "sadly gets blashed" alot. He truley is one of the many early pioneer's of the past that revolutionized movies to what they are today.

Posted by: Sui Yuan at December 6, 2004 08:48 PM

"The Generation Gap" was really a good movie...pick it up !

Posted by: Susan Lee at January 4, 2005 06:08 AM

This was a GREAT film !!! David Chiang was excellent in this movie, terrific actor with pure genuine talent !!!!!!

Posted by: Mindy at December 13, 2005 05:59 PM

David Chiang was EXCELLENT in this movie !!!!!
He really is an exceptionally very talented actor, his emotion he displays is very heardt felt. Excellent movie !!!

Posted by: Jennifer at February 20, 2006 10:59 PM

David Chiang is AGAIN super cute & cool in this teenage gangster type melodrama. Keep one thing ion mind...THIS WAS 1973 !!! Great movie, excellent acting , cast and script...for 1973 !!!

RECOMMEND !!!

Posted by: Mali Faustini at April 21, 2006 04:43 PM

Cool DC movie ! Not to be missed !

Posted by: Gary at July 3, 2006 04:30 PM

LOVED THIS MOVIE ! David was a cutie !

Posted by: Mary at September 5, 2006 08:33 AM

Agreed with above comments ! great film, great actor & story .

Posted by: Kenny at March 18, 2007 09:53 PM

David is bad ass in this , for a early 70's film !

Posted by: Kerri Wong at August 19, 2007 11:43 PM

LOVED THIS FILM, DAVID IS HELLA COOL !

Posted by: Sherri at May 11, 2008 05:14 AM

David Chiang turns up the acting here a notch, never realized he had so much depth as an actor until now, go see this movie !~~

Posted by: Mandy at July 5, 2008 09:38 PM
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