Reviews by Country
Visible Secret was among the vanguard of the “My left eye sees ghosts” sub-sub-genre of films to come out of Hong Kong recently. And it’s a pretty good one, I must admit.
It’s an extremely visual film, not surprisingly. The colour palette is striking: lush, deep, drenched colours, lots of night-time settings, and dramatic lighting make it beautiful to look at. Some might also say that Hsu Qi makes it beautiful to look at, although I’m not in a glandular … (read more)
As opening film for HKIFF 2004, Jade Goddess of Mercy (title later changed to Goddess of Mercy, for reasons unknown) should have been excellent. Alas, it fell down in at least one major respect: casting. Although most of the cast did well, and in some cases very well, the female lead was a problem. Vicki Zhao Wei, no matter how perky, no matter how cute, is just not a sufficiently good actress to carry the role of a dedicated … (read more)
Ann Hui’s July Rhapsody, translated literally as Man 40 from Cantonese, is not so much a film about a mid life crisis as it is about life itself. This film, through the strength and believability of the characters and the value the director places in narrative pace, speaks most strongly about matters of the heart and the choices we make for good or ill, and the things seemingly beyond our control. But it also manages to illuminate value within … (read more)