Johnnie To and Wai Ka-faiHong Kong95 minutes2000ColourCantonese
Reportedly conceived, shot, and released in 27 days — one of those minor miracles for which HK film production is famed — this black comedy takes lethal aim at the stultifying and corruption-breeding bureaucratic ideology that defines the totalizing administrative state of contemporary Hong Kong. In a woefully incompetent hospital, where venal surgeons take cell-phone calls while operating, three idealistic ER doctors take matters into their own hands and singlehandedly inspire their formerly timorous and/or corrupt peers to feats of medical heroism. Turning To's idée fixe of selfless professionalism into material for farce, Help!!! features unforgettable, Kafkaesque images of rustling bureaucrats-in-hiding, talking cars (Leos Carax's Holy Motors avant la lettre), and a medical emergency in the midst of a typhoon.