Lover's Discourse 戀人絮語
Contemporary romantic drama
2010, colour, 2.35:1, 117 mins
Directed by Derek Tsang (曾國祥), Jimmy Wan (尹志文)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 15 December 2010, 12:19 PM (HKT)
Well-cast but thinly scripted portmanteau drama with overlapping characters in separate stories. Festivals.
Hong Kong, the present day. Episode 1: old friends and former lovers Cheng Chi-lui (Eason Chan) and Lan (Karena Lam), each now with new partners, meet one evening in Causeway Bay for a drink and share a special moment together in Victoria Park. Episode 2: Gigi (Kay Tse), a shy worker at a laundry, has a secret crush on regular customer Dr. Lai Kwong-sang (Eddie Peng). One day she finds a ticket in his clothes and goes to watch the same film, Taoist vs Vampire, triggering a series of cinematic fantasies in which she co-stars with him. Episode 3: Leung Bo-ching (Jacky Heung) is secretly following Lai in a department store while the latter is on his mobile phone. Leung remembers when they were both classmates and friends (William Chan, Carlos Chan) 12 years ago, how he had a teenage crush on Lai's mother (Kit Chan) and how he destroyed her marriage to Lai's father (Eric Tsang). Episode 4: Leung gets an on-line message from a young woman called Kei (Mavis Fan) that his wife Lan is having an affaire with her partner Cheng Chi-lui. She suggests they follow each other's partners one evening to resolve the matter.
"There's nothing left to talk about love but its stories" runs the tagline to Lover's Discourse 戀人絮語 (2010) — which pretty much sums up this feature debut by actor Derek TSANG 曾國祥 (son of veteran Eric TSANG 曾志偉) and writer Jimmy WAN 尹志文 (Isabella 伊莎貝拉 (2005), Dream Home 維多利亞壹號 (2010)). Produced by PANG Ho-cheung 彭浩翔, for whom both have worked in the past, the film does have its own character, with none of either Pang's enjoyable quirkiness or his frustrating structural weaknesses, but at the end of the day adds up to a thimbleful of content spread over a lengthy two hours. Leading actors Eason CHAN 陳奕迅 and Karena LAM 林嘉欣 are rather under-employed, though the film manages to knit together a diverse Chinese cast (singers Mavis FAN 范曉萱 from Taiwan, Kit CHAN 陳潔儀 from Singapore, Kay TSE 謝安琪 from Hong Kong, plus Taiwan's Eddie PENG 彭于晏) into a believable dramatic unit. Tse (Love Connected 保持愛你 (2009), Split Second Murders 死神傻了 (2009)) hits just the right note of lovestruck shyness in the second epsiode.
Rather than using overlapping stories, Tsang and Wan employ overlapping characters in four different stories, which works best with the middle two (in which the third episode sheds new light on the male character in the second). The movie looks like developing some overall shape and substance in the final episode, which brings back Chan and Lam's characters from the opening; but just when things are getting interesting, the film-makers, clearly with nothing else left to say, fall back on stylistic mannerisms capped by a montage of all the characters and an upbeat song in English about love. Widescreen production values are good on the Red One-originated movie, apart from an unattractive, magenta-ish look to the third episode.
ContactSales: Distribution Workshop, Hong Kong (email@example.com)
Premiere: Pusan Film Festival (New Currents), 12 Oct 2010. Theatrical release: China, 31 Dec 2010; Hong Kong, 6 Jan 2011.
Presented by Irresistible Films (HK), Irresistible Delta (HK), Film Development Fund of Hong Kong (HK). Produced by ET Movie (HK). Executive producers: Bill Kong, Chiba Ryuhei, Hugh Simon. Producer: Pang Ho-cheung.
Script: Derek Tsang, Jimmy Wan. Photography: Charlie Lam. Editing: Derek Tsang. Music: Peter Kam. Production design: Kitty Chau. Sound: Lai Chun-wing, Nip Kei-wing. Visual effects: Reubens Chiu. Animation: Arkunion.
Cast: Eason Chan (Cheng Chi-lui/Ray), Karena Lam (Lan/Nancy/Chole Lee), Mavis Fan (Kei/Kay), Kay Tse (Chi/Gigi), Jacky Heung (Leung Bo-ching/Paul), William Chan (teenage Leung Bo-ching), Eddie Peng (Dr. Lai Kwong-sang/Sam), Carlos Chan (teenage Lai Kwong-sang), Kit Chan (his mother), Eric Tsang (his father).