Sunday, April 18, 2010

Echoes of The Rainbow (On A Rainy Sunday in Hong Kong)

Without doing it intentionally, I've seen a Simon Yam film on the first full day of each of my three visits to Hong Kong so far.

The first time was Vengeance (2009) last August, and then at Christmas-time it was Storm Warriors (2009) which I almost forgot contained Mr. Yam -- I bet he wishes he could forget that film too!

And today it was the thoroughly excellent Echoes of The Rainbow (2010) from director Alex Law. Law previously wrote the scripts for three films I like quite a bit (flaws and all): The Soong Sisters (1997), City of Glass (1998), and Beijing Rocks (2001). I didn't see Night and Fog (2009) yet.

Oh, and he wrote the wonderful An Autumn's Tale (1987) which was directed by Mabel Cheung.

This time, Ms. Cheung is the producer and writer Alex Law is the director.

Kozo already has a real review up so read that for the lowdown on the film but here are a few brief thoughts from me.

First, I was amazed at how less shrill Sandra Ng has become as an actress. Now, I say "shrill" with a lot of love as the comedienne is usually quite funny, but here she's got to do more. Her performance is real and full of subtle moments that I really enjoyed.

I never thought I'd see a film where someone putting shoes on Sandra Ng's feet was a tender moment and not a creepy comedy bit, you know?

Second, Simon Yam. Hard as it may be to believe this, I think he was actually underplaying things here; while the film is sentimental and melodramatic, Simon Yam's performance seems earthy and unforced.

The film is a bit too long and quite melodramatic in parts but I enjoyed it and was wiping a few tears back from time-to-time.

In a scene sure to warm the heart of my blogging buddy duriandave, the little boy in the film -- Big Ears -- sells faked celebrity autographed pictures of stars like Connie Chan, Bobo Fung, and Josephine Siao.

There's also another delightful scene where the family goes to see a Bobo Fung film in the theater. Echoes of The Rainbow is set in 1966 but the film could be something a bit older. The English subtitles reveal The Golden Goblet but I'm not sure of the film's real title.

It's in black-and-white and there's some great images of Kwanyin (?) rising from Bobo's goblet in the film.

The "goblet" will figure prominently as a symbol later in the film after Big Ears steals one from the theater lobby.

Film directors Ann Hui and Laurence Lau have cameos in the film as well, Ms. Hui especially effective as Big Ears' school teacher.

UPDATE (June 16, 2010): Readers in the US can now buy the film on DVD here!

If you want to keep up with the chances of the Echoes of The Rainbow crew at the Hong Kong Film Awards, be sure to check out The Golden Rock's live blogging of the event tonight, 18 April 2010!

Oh, I also went ahead and purchased my ticket for Iron Man 2; I'm going to the first show -- 9:35 AM! -- on Friday, April 30, 2010. That's a full week before the Marvel epic will open in America.

A resplendent Kelly Chen looks down on Times Square in the drizzle...