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Esprit D'Amour
Chinese: 陰陽愛
Dave Wong and Fennie Yuen
Year: 2001
Director: Billy Chung Siu-Hung
Producer: Raymond Wong Bak-Ming
Writer: Simon Lui Yu-Yeung
Cast: Julian Cheung Chi-Lam, Loletta Lee Lai-Chun, Dave Wong Kit, Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Pinky Cheung Man-Chi, Law Lan, Sherming Yiu Lok-Yi, Chapman To Man-Chat, Bonnie Law Ming-Chu, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Oscar Leung Lit-Wai
The Skinny: Passably entertaining horror flick/drama which spends an inordinate amount of time humanizing its characters. The result is thoughtful, though the lack of thrills may be disappointing to some.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Stately horror/drama from director Billy Chung and prolific screenwriter/actor Simon Lui Yu-Yeung. Basically, three short horror stories illustrate the consequences of love and death - and not necessarily in that order. Julian Cheung is a depressed executive who's pining for his dead girlfriend Loletta Lee. He plans to off himself to join her, but first must deal with chicanery at the office. Story two deals with cab driver Simon Lui, who gets a warning from a Tarot card reader. The deal: he's supposed to meet a new girl, but this girl may have minions from hell chasing her. Not coincidentally, he picks up mysterious Pinky Cheung, who likes to visit graveyards at night. And finally, Dave Wong is an aging triad who meets the perfect girl: a lovely and personable nurse played by Fennie Yuen. Unfortunately, the spectre of death hangs over their lives - will it take Dave in a triad gang fight?

The Chinese title for Esprit D'Amour translates as "Yin Yang Love", a name which is quite similar to the Chinese title for the infamous Troublesome Night movies (which translates as "Yin Yang Road"). Like the Troublesome Night flicks, Esprit D'Amour uses three stories that cross over to varying degrees. However, unlike those other films, this film eschews comedy almost entirely. What we're left with is straight up relationships - with horror thrown in. The mix can be suprisingly thoughtful, as more attention is paid to character and emotion than the normal horror-type HK film. However, the trade-off is a slow, languid pace and lots of inaction, which threatens to bore. If you're in it for the actors (which is sort of hard to believe), the film gets extra interest points, but those seeking out new film experiences will probably find this a waste of time.

On the positive end, each story has recognizable emotions, and even some subtly affecting scenes. Billy Chung and Simon Lui treat even the most hackneyed and inconsequential of situations with amazing respect, which actually helps the overall film. However, but not every story reaches a satisfactory conclusion. The best of the three stories is probably the final one, as it features the eternally creepy Law Lan as well as the always charming Fennie Yuen. And, it manages to connect some of the stories together, though doing so doesn't really make the film any more exciting. Then again, aspirations towards a ripping cinematic experience were probably never a part of this filmmaking equation. The total package of Esprit D'Amour fails to achieve anything noteworthy or new, but some of its parts can be worthwhile. (Kozo 2001/2002)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Widesight Entertainment
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Widesight Entertainment

   
 
 
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