Director: Peter Chan
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jacky Cheung,
Zhou Xun, Ji Jin-Hee
RunTime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 8 December 2005
A movie-within-a-movie, featuring a love triangle plot that
parallel between several actors’ lives. Jealousy, hatred
and passion ignited by memories of the past, collide and culminate
through the intervention of a seasoned heavenly being, a modern
Cupid, who shares their joy and sorrow
There are many reasons to like this film. It stars well-known
regional faces. It boasts of spectacularly-choreographed musical
numbers. It tells a love story. Above all, the distributor
has done a good job marketing the movie so there is no way
you would not have heard about it.
there still lies one biggest concern when it comes to all
movies alike: Does it touch you? Be assured, beneath all the
beautiful packaging and strong promotional efforts, this is
definitely one of the most affecting movies of 2005.
story is introduced by a guardian angel that has the magical
ability of putting “scenes” back into people's
lives. He visits a Shanghai studio where a movie being shot.
The male star is an old flame of the movie's female lead.
The problem is that she denies ever knowing him. But flashbacks
tell us otherwise.
add drama to the plot, she is also the movie director’s
protégé and love. Fearing a rebirth of his two
stars' love affair, the director casts himself in one of the
movie’s roles. Soon, real life and reel life are inextricably
has been nine years since director Peter Chan directed a full-length
Mandarin movie. It was 1996 when he made the successful Comrades,
Almost a Love Story starring Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai. Since
then, he has been busy producing pan-Asian films. With a huge
production budget for his latest effort, he shows us Asian
movie-making at its finest.
the perfect casting of the characters gets thumbs up. Heartthrob
Takeshi Kaneshiro stars as the endearing male lead who symbolizes
remembrance. The camera lens loves him, and every angle only
complements his moving performance as a man holding on to
his memories. Representing forgetting is up-and-coming Mainland
actress Zhou Xun, who plays the female lead. Playing her role
with some innocence, her cold, heartless and piercing stare
is still a heartbreaker.
ideal choice to embody the pain and jealousy of the movie
director is definitely “God of Songs” Jacky Cheung.
Thankfully, this character does not fall into the trap of
being a one-dimensional villain. With Cheung’s powerful
and faultless voice, he effortlessly brings out the agony
and hurt of his character. With a good sound system in the
theatre, one will definitely be affected with his resonating
vocals. Ji Jin-hee of Korean drama Jewel in the Palace fame
rounds up the cast with his very pleasing performance as the
The strongest selling point of this movie is its musical genre.
Unlike traditional Shaw Brothers or Cathay musicals, this
one will remind audiences more of big-scale musicals like
Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge! Not that
this is a bad thing though, because the director has successfully
used this genre to tell the story.
Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan in this production, the
musical sequences are a joy to watch. Khan’s previous
mainstream works include Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding
(2001) and Vanity Fair (2004). Coupled with songs written
by Leon Ko and Peter Kam, the emotions of bliss, love, betrayal,
hate and loss are all effectively presented through the power
cinematography of the film is also nothing short of breathtaking.
The lush Shanghai scenes by award winning Peter Pau are nicely
contrasted with the cold snowy Beijing scenes by the critically-acclaimed
all these strong production values in place, the final and
ultimate test of the movie is whether it manages affect audiences
on a personal level. While enjoying the aesthetics and the
music of the movie, do take a moment to think about the themes
it is portraying. They are so real and stark, it will make
you reflect on what love and memories are all about.
may criticize the lack of resolution at the end of the film,
but think about it, isn’t that what love, and on a larger
scale, life, is perhaps all about?
affecting and beautifully-made film that will hopefully place
Hong Kong cinema on the world map)
by John Li