In Mandarin With English And Chinese Subtitles
Director: Derek Tsang, Jimmy Wan
Cast: Eason Chan, Kit Chan, Karena Lam, Kay Tse, Eddie Peng, Eric Tsang, William Chan, Carlos Chan, Mavis Fan, Jacky Heung
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris
Official Website: http://www.loversdiscourse.com/
Opening Day: 13 January 2011
Lover’s Discourse melds together a series of relationships and the tales of love and lost … we see lovers indulge in the discourse of flirting with the ones who makes our hearts flutter and fighting against the conventions of love. The film will portray bittersweet segments of couples and family members and close friends going through various stages of love and betrayal and redemption.
Mr Lai and his still attractive wife, lead an uncomplicated life with their son, Sam. Often, they would invite Paul, Sam’s best friend to their home for dinners. All four of them have secrets in their hearts that would ultimately betray the peace and decorum of the household…
A young girl manning a laundry shop, Gigi, has a crush on her good looking customer Sam. Going through the pocket of Sam’s clothes, she builds her fantasy world around the items she finds and we are drawn into the charming and slightly kitsch world of Gigi and Sam’s relationship as imagined by her….
Nancy and Ray are strolling in the park while waiting to go back to their homes and respective partners… they are reminiscing about the good times spent in Japan together some years back and tension slowly builds up to a confession that they both are still on love with each other…
Out of the blue, Paul receives a MSN message from a girl asking him if he knew of Nancy’s infidelity. He meets up with Kay and together they nurse their broken hearts and indulge in an act of revenge that would unravel more pain but ultimately a chance of redemption to forgive and move on...
In our quest for true love, for the one most beloved in our hearts, we may do all that we can to be with the person we love but sometimes, what we don’t know is that the one we are looking for is the person who is always by our side already…
"Love is a many splendoured thing. Love lifts up where we belong. All you need, is love." Such a bravura quote on love, as proudly proclaimed by Ewan McGregor in 2001’s Moulin Rouge!, one of our generation’s greatest romantic films. So what is it about love that leaves people like you and me intoxicated beyond logic?
The prologue of this Hong Kong movie offers some insights, using the profundity of science to justify why love has the power to turn one’s world upside down. This opening goes on for quite a while, and just as we were getting frustrated with the narrator’s metaphysical blabber about how there is really nothing to talk about love except its stories, the first tale that makes up this omnibus begins.
It features Eason Chan (Lady Cop & Papa Crook) and Karena Lam (Claustrophobia) as former lovers who meet one evening for a drink. Now with new partners, the two share a special moment in a park before heading separate ways. This seemingly casual exchange of mundane conversations between the two old friends is, of course, a sign of how they still have feelings for each other. This makes viewers wonder, what constitutes true love in this modern society where love comes and goes the sun rises and sets? Chan and Lam have a naturally appealing chemistry that makes this segment highly watchable.
Next up, Hong Kong Cantopop Kay Tse plays a shy laundry shop worker who has a secret crush on one of her regular customers played by Taiwan’s Eddie Peng (Hear Me). Through a series of quirky cinematic fantasies, we see how the adorably loveable girl is hopelessly in love with the equally adorably cute boy. And when this episode ends with an inevitable separation between the two, we wonder what crushes truly signify in our teenage years? The most enjoyable segment in this compilation of stories, this saccharine sweet section will have you smiling, and occasionally, chuckling.
Things take a darker turn in the third chapter, where William Chan’s (Overheard) young high school student has a teenage crush on his best friend’s mother, played by Singapore’s very own songbird Kit Chan. Featuring a restrainedly heartfelt performance by the talented Chan, this tale of hurt, obsession and forbidden desires uses darker shades of colours to bring out the emotions felt by the characters. This is also where you’d begin wondering, is love really a splendoured as you’ve imagined?
This feeling is further emphasized in the last segment starring Jacky Heung (72 Tenants of Prosperity) and acclaimed Taiwanese singer Mavis Fan. The guy gets an online message from the girl that his partner is having an affair with her partner. The two decide to follow each other’s partners to find out the truth. Things do not end on a happy note here, but what you’d get out of in this concluding piece is how love manifests itself in all sorts of ways in unthinkable means, and ultimately, this makes up life.
Featuring overlapping characters throughout the four stories to weave the tale together, there is some uneven pacing and the occasional lack of substance. A warning for the idealistic optimist: The filmmakers’ take on love isn’t exactly pretty, which makes things a little poignantly depressing at times.
Produced by the gifted Edmond Pang (Love in a Puff) and directed by Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan, this feature debut is definitely well cast, if not being able to offering anything refreshing during its 117 minute runtime. Thanks to top notch cinematography by Charlie Lam (Echoes of the Rainbow) which features some of Hong Kong’s most iconic landmarks, creative editing by Tsang (son of Eric) himself, and a sometimes overbearing music score by the renowned Peter Kam (Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame), this is a commendable production which hits the right notes emotionally.
(The film may not paint a pretty picture about love, but its top notch production values and the cast’s superb performances make this contemporary romantic drama praiseworthy)
Review by John Li