Skip navigation


Isabellas are abound, the one I saw was this one, made in Honkgkong by Ho-Cheung Pang: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499141/.

Admittedly, given the rather crappy and uncomfortable "cinematic" environment, I found it rather hard to start into the film with the relevant concentration, so I was more irritated rather than amazed by the montage and the use of Kar-Wai’isms. And equally admittedly, I did not expect to see a film of such dramatic and aesthetic professionalism, as most Chinese films you get to see these days are poor if not pathetic in both respects. Next time I first read the description – the film is from Hong Kong, after all, which in cinematic terms is some two centuries ahead of the mainland. Never heard of the director, never realised that the film actually won him some prices (at Berlin, for instance, so no petty stuff, if "only" for the music). This may actually be the best form of savouring a movie: not knowing anything about it, allowing it to unfold it in front of your eyes, ears and mind(s). You usually don’t get this, because I actually do believe there are very few "auteurs" who (1) are completely unknown and (2) can create a great film. Happens occasionally, but it is very much the exemtion. Which means that you usually know quite a bit about the good films you will see, because the papers will have taken it up and will have pointed you to see the remarkabilities, and will have given you a preconception and expectations, like it or not.

All the more interesting it was to see this one develop, see the slightly pathetic use of "Madredeus"-like music fall together with the (to me) completely odd setting of pre-handover Macao. A very intimate atmosphere is dominating, mainly through the density of the place and the fusion of cultures that have little to do with each other, but are still squeezed together like too many family members in a Chinese apartment. They hate the Portuguese as all colonies hate their imperial parents, but – again, as always – the cultural clash is a very stable and very cozy situation, where everybody has his or her role to play. The film’s story tries to link the loss of cozyness for the protagonists to the imminent handover to China, but that link is weak for me. It allows for some text inserts, but the change cannot be felt in the story. Those people’s (the police offer and his "daughter") fate has little do with other developments, and the script doctors would have been well advised to leave it at that: a little love story in a setting that apparently is not only hard to comprehend for a lao wai…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: