Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996)Directed by: Peter Chan
Starring: Maggie Cheung, Leon Lai, Eric Tsang
Tagline: The World's only McDonald's love story?
This movie is a favourite of a lot of people, so I won't be doing a detailed synopsis of it. I have heard a lot of good things about this movie, but I really wanted to watch it as it stars Maggie Cheung, who is my favourite Hong Kong actress.
The story is set over a period of almost ten years starting in October 1986 at Kowloon railway station. It then follows the lives of two new arrivals from mainland China and how their lives meet. Even though the story is somewhat different, the pace and style of the story reminded me of In the Mood for Love (2000).
My favourite scenes in the movie were the ones of the two main characters at the ATM where the camera looks out at them. It is so cute seeing Maggie's character not wanting the man Leon plays seeing her pin number.
I also liked when her massage customer shows her his new back tattoo (Eric Tsang). He has been in heaps of movies including Infernal Affairs (2002).
The commercial placement in the movie was strange, you normally would expect to be really annoyed by this sort of thing, but it fits so well in the story. If Super Size Me (2004) was the perfect anti-McDonald's film, this is why I had McDonalds for the first time in seven months.
Many of the Hong Kong movies I see are either triad or Kung Fu based, so it is good to see a love story once in a while. This movie is different to many of the recent romantic comedies as it is more serious and has had a lot of care and attention given to it.
I thought the passage of time in the film was handled really well. Although I don't know much about event in Hong Kong during the period it is set in, I do remember some of the major world events it mentions such as the 1987 Wall Street crash.
The performances of the leads are amazing and the supporting characters are really great too. Christopher Doyle also turns up in a minor role as an English teacher in the movie (he looked exactly the same as when I saw him at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2004.)
I highly recommend this movie if you are looking for a film that is good to watch with your partner. If you enjoy the films of Wong Kar Wai I would also recommend it as it reminded me of his work.