AL & Benji: Pop Culture Runs in Our Blood
Recently, a lot of blockbuster movies have been shown in cinemas captivating the public’s attention and becoming the talk of the town, such as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Logan” and “La La Land”. Most people focused on the movie stars while some enthusiastic fans of the western pop culture related deeply to those movies. AL and Benji are two of them and their lives are influenced by the pop culture seriously.
By Ceci Lam, Cherry Wong and Vicky So
Adviser Mr Joseph Chan
Pages editor Matthew Ku
“I have had an obsession with pop culture from ‘Jurassic Park’ since I was three.” Benji said. Growing up watching Harry Potter movies and impressed by the fantasy world behind the movies, he wanted to get involved in making movies and chose to study film production as his career path. During his time in the Academy of Performing Art (APA), he had a golden opportunity to greet Eddie Redmayne, the Oscar-winning actor who starred in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.
“When the first Harry Potter movie was showing in the cinemas in 2001, it became the hot topic among the teenagers. I remember when I was in junior form, everybody was holding a Harry Potter book. This is my first time hooked on pop culture,” AL said. Spurred by her passion on pop culture, she even went to New Zealand for her dream to visit the movie set of “Lord of the Ring”. The scenery of the movies in front of her eyes, “my dream finally comes true!” AL said. Lately, she also flew to Nepal, where the picture “Doctor Strange” was set. Her enthusiasm for pop culture has motivated AL to explore the world and broaden her horizons.
Every pop culture fan has the hobby of collecting the products of the movies, not excluding AL and Benji both have lots of collection. AL collects the trading card of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Not many people in Hong Kong collect the trading cards,” AL said. Benji likes collecting the props of movies, like the wands of Harry Potter movies. “I don’t like to measure the value of the collections based on their prices. Instead, it is based on its meaning to myself,” Benji said.
“News reported by Hong Kong media about western pop culture is mostly entertainment-oriented and celebrity-driven,” said both of them. Hong Kong media may emphasize more on famous Hollywood celebrities, gossips and rumours in the entertaining industry, but not the movie itself. Like the recent Disney live-action movie “Beauty and the Beast”, Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actress, who also portrays Belle, has come under the spotlight. However, there are a lot of talented actors in the cast, such as Oscar nominated actor Sir Ian McKellan, Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson and Golden Globes nominated actor Ewan McGregor, all of whom may be neglected by Hong Kong people because of the lack of recognition.
To introduce western pop culture in Hong Kong, they have established a Facebook page “Pop-session”, the first Facebook page promoting pop culture in Hong Kong. Furthermore, they have started an online radio programme on OurRadio HK in order to get more Hong Kong people interested in western pop culture, to go more deeply about the movies, their productions, casts, messages and audiences. It offers a platform for people to go beyond the superficial and have a richer knowledge about western culture.
AL and Benji have made some friends and formed a community by holding several gatherings. They held house booking of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “The Lego Batman Movie”, providing opportunity for the enthusiasts to communicate with each other.