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An Autumn's Tale
   |     review    |     awards     |     notes     |     availability     |      
Chinese: 秋天的童話  
Year: 1987  
Director: Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting  
Producer: John Sham Kin-Fun  
Writer: Alex Law Kai-Yu  
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Cherie Chung Chor-Hung, Danny Chan Bak-Keung, Gigi Wong Po-Yi, Wong Man, Brenda Lo Yip-Mei, Joyce Houseknecht, Arthur Fullbright, Cindy Ng Lai-Sing, Chan Yui-Yin, Tom Hsiung
The Skinny: A charming, subtle romance from the team of Mabel Cheung and Alex Law. Chow Yun-Fat and Cherie Chung turn in wonderful performances, and the sentiment on display is hard to resist. An HK Cinema classic and a great date movie, to boot.
by Kozo:

One of HK's classics, this romantic drama set in New York features a terrific pairing between Chow Yun-Fat and Cherie Chung. She's Jenny, a college student who travels from Hong Kong to New York to reunite with boyfriend Danny Chan. However, things aren't what she expects, because Danny's been playing the field in her absence. Luckily, Jenny has her distant cousin (Chow Yun-Fat) to help her, but the two are decidedly different souls. He immediately takes a shine to her, but she's slow on the uptake. And besides, how can two incredibly mismatched people ever be together?

Plot and story are not the emphasis of Mabel Cheung's film. Though there's the obligatory set-up, the path the film follows rests entirely upon the development and growth of its principal characters. Chow Yun-Fat plays your typical Chinatown HK immigrant, who gambles and talks bigger than he delivers. When he finds Jenny, he decides he wants to become a better person to earn her affections. His effort is understandable, as Jenny is portrayed by Cherie Chung, who turns in a subtle, charming performance. Jenny must grow as well, though her goals are different from her cousin's. She simply would like to become a woman, and that journey may or may not mean romance for her.

The obstacles for the would-be lovers are largely free of your standard movie-like plot devices. As such, the relationship develops naturally and not through some forced set of circumstances. In contrast to the verbalized epiphanies and soap-opera plotting of most romances, the tone here is incredibly serene, and even deceptively languid. Awkward silences, silent pining and misdirected intentions are the language that Mabel Cheung and scriptwriter Alex Law use, and in the hands of such actors as Chow Yun-Fat and Cherie Chung, the results are incredibly engaging. Though the two are major stars, the film doesn't make them star-crossed. Their chemistry feels pleasing and real, and not a byproduct of their status as the two prettiest people onscreen.

Ultimately, the two characters find some resolution to their issues, and the results are neither unexpected nor wholly predictable. The results simply feel natural, and the quiet humanity with which the characters are portrayed makes them extremely sympathetic. Mabel Cheung's suitably understated direction brings the perfect touch to the proceedings, and Alex Law's script is remarkably sensitive. Nothing truly earth-shattering occurs here, and the love that grows isn't a world-beating, destiny-fulfilling match made in heaven. However, thanks to likable, identifiable characters and perfect lead performances, An Autumn's Tale is a Hong Kong romance that's nearly matchless. (Kozo 1997/2002)


7th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Picture
Winner - Best Screenplay (Alex Law Kai-Yu)
• Winner - Best Cinematography (James Hayman, David Chung Chi-Man)

Nomination - Best Director (Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting)
Nomination - Best Actor (Chow Yun-Fat)
Nomination - Best Actress (Cherie Chung Chor-Hung)
Nomination - Best Original Score (Lowell Lo Koon-Ting)

Notes: • The original pressing of this film was a Megastar DVD that featured an egregious error with its English subtitles. The timing was waaaay off, such that the titles appear more than a few seconds before the actual onscreen character says their dialogue. Needless to say, this can be incredibly distracting. If you do happen across the film and wish to purchase it, MAKE SURE that you're looking at the newer releases and not one of the earlier Megastar/Media Asia releases.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co.,
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
   Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen