how you were in high school, pretty, popular, and fascinated by aviation? At
least that is how it was for Gigi Yu. The aviation part did not come to her
naturally, but from hanging around with the leaders of the Aviation Club.
Technically, it was the earnest egghead who really understood planes. She
married the good looking one instead. Was that a mistake? Yu starts wondering exactly
that when she takes a trip down memory lane in Adam Wong’s She Remembers, He Forgets (trailer here), starring this year’s
Star Asia Award winner, Miriam Yeung, which screens during the 2016 New York Asian Film Festival.
and her husband Pang Shing-wa work more than they communicate. However, when
they were high school students in the early 1990s, anything seemed possible,
even with the mounting uncertainty regarding the Hong Kong handover. Yu’s
platonic aviation buddies Pang and So Bok-man are both hoped to take their
relationship to the next level. Pang closed the sale on open house weekend,
which most likely caused So’s sudden disappearance shortly thereafter.
Yu is starting to suspect Pang turned into a cheating dog. As she revisits her
alma mater for this year’s open house weekend (we’d probably call it homecoming),
decidedly on her own, Yu gets flashes of memory suggesting that she’d missed
some pretty important signs from So. Putting the pieces together, she becomes
desperate to reconnect with the torch-carrying rocket-launcher.
we can all probably admit SRHF is
about twenty minutes too long. Any romantic dramedy should be able to wrap
things up in under twenty minutes. That said, Wong uses the split time frame
with lethal effectiveness. Granted, he is not playing fair, constantly revealing
previously withheld information with each successive flashback. Still, few
mortals can withstand the sheer power of the nostalgia he unleashes. Even if
you weren’t launching bottle rockets with the cutest girl in school (and at
least one other dude and the crusty old janitor), SRHF will make you feel like you did.
is undeniably a big star and she is impressive as the adult Yu. It is a
sensitive turn, but also refreshingly mature and grounded. This is a woman who
is experiencing a lot of disappointments, but still gets up for work each
morning. However, newcomer Cecilia So just walks away with the film as teenage
Yu. Her finely wrought chemistry with Ng Siu-hin’s So Bok-man also pays huge
emotional dividends. If NYAFF patrons aren’t completely cried out from If Cats Disappeared from the World, this
might just finish them off.
The pre-handover setting heightens the bittersweet
vibe even further and gives the film a vivid sense of time and place. It is
definitely a romantic tragedy, but it is the sort of weeper that makes you feel
better when it concludes. Recommended for fans of Yeung and happy-sad love
stories, She Remembers, He Forgets screens
tomorrow night (6/29) at the Walter Reade, as part of this year’s NYAFF.
Labels: Hong Kong Cinema, Miriam Yeung, NYAFF '16