it the altitude sickness making Michael Lau nauseous or is it love? Whichever, the binge drinking is not helping
much. Nevertheless, the heartbroken
superstar might pull himself together and find real love with the help of a
former fan. Action auteur Johnnie To
takes another Mainland pleasing foray into relationship drama territory with Romancing in Thin Air (trailer here), which screens this
weekend as part of the San Francisco Film Society’s crowd-pleasing second
annual Hong Kong Cinema Festival.
Lau is coincidentally a lot like Louis Koo, the actor who plays him. Both are popular HK romantic leads with a
background in music. Lau is going
through a rough patch though. He was to
marry his co-star in an ultra-glitzy ceremony, only to be very publicly dumped
at the altar. Lau takes refuge in the
bottle—hard. Stowing away in Sue’s
vintage army truck, Lau finds himself at her rustic mountain lodge, way above
sea level and sick as a dog.
is a widow who will not allow herself to mourn.
One night her sensitive mountain man husband went out into the forest in
search of a lost child, but never returned.
Yet, Sue keeps the lodge exactly as he left it in the unrealistic hope
will eventually walk through the front door.
Of course, these two broken hearts are perfect for each other, but they will
have to learn that the hard way.
To can kick it in any genre, but his previous rom-com (heavier on the rom), Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (which screened
at the SFFS’s HK fest last year), travels better. Frankly, it is hard to believe some of the
things Lau does to win over/back Sue do not have the opposite effect. However, the first two acts put a nice twist
on the Notting Hill concept,
establishing Sue as former Michael Lau fan club member and revealing the role
the idol’s career played in her courtship with the missing Tian.
already proved to be a successful box-office pairing, Koo and Sammi Cheng
indeed have some nice chemistry together.
Conversely, the supporting characters do not have a lot of meat to them,
seemingly existing just to bring the two together. That includes Li Guangjie’s impossibly
both To and cinematographer Cheng Siu-keung love the mountain backdrop, luxuriating
in its harsh snowcapped beauty. Guy
Zerafa’s lyrical piano score was probably supposed to be syrupier, but is
actually quite elegant and evocative.
Despite some over-the-top elements here or there, Thin takes its central relationship seriously, which is
endearing. It is also an example of a genuine
leading man turn from Koo, yet he is also obviously and deliberately having
some fun with his own image. Recommended
for sentimental romantics, Romancing in
This Air screens this Sunday (9/23) as the SFFS’s Hong Kong Cinema Festival
continues at the New People Cinema.
Ann Hui’s understated but emotionally powerful A Simple Life also screens earlier that
same day (9/23). Based on a true story,
it follows a decent but hardly heroic movie producer as he tries his best to
look after his family’s elderly servant after she suffers a stroke. An actors’ showcase for Andy Lau and Deanie
Ip, it is a tearjerker with too much self-respect to jerk tears. Highly recommended, a full review can be
Labels: HK at SFFS '12, Hong Kong Cinema, Johnnie To, Louis Koo