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Heroes in Love
Year: 2001 "I'm dumping him tomorrow!"
Lawrence Chou and Charlene Choi
Director: Wing Shya, Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung, GC Goo-Bi
Producer: Gordon Chan Car-Seung, Jan Lamb Hoi-Fung
Cast: Elegant Tong Wing-Sze, Gloria Cheng, Wu Por, Lawrence Chou Chun-Wai,Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin
The Skinny: Valiant indie picture which throws three short films together under the umbrella of "ruminations on love." The films range from intruiging to unnecessary, but there are flashes of inspiration and some genuine thought. However, Nicholas Tse and Stephen Fung (who co-directed one short) should keep their day jobs.
Review
by Kozo:
     You can attend film school in Hong Kong! Or, you can at least get the experience of thesis night. Heroes in Love is an EEG-produced anthology of three short films on the subject of love, all directed by neophyte directors. The fact that one short was directed by Nicholas Tse and Stephen Fung gives the film extra-special cred with the popstar chasers, but neither appears onscreen. Instead, the "Yes!" crowd must be satisfied by an early appearance by Charlene Choi, who stars in a short from radio DJ/writer GC Goo Bi. Everyone else should break out their grading sheets to see whether the filmmakers graduate.
     Wing Shya directs "Kidnap", about the benign kidnapping of a typical Hong Kong girl in love. Instead of doing salacious things, her captor gives her care and attention. Subsequent revelations on truth, personal worth and sexuality occur. Wing's direction is largely handheld and without judgment; the story unfolds in a remarkably opaque manner, and actors Elegant Tong and Gloria Cheng are effectively raw. The film also possesses an obvious twist that, while effective, doesn't really shed much light on an already obvious outcome. "Kidnap" is narratively sound and effectively told, but is also hardly groundbreaking.
     Story two is the one screaming thirteen year-olds have been waiting for. Nicholas Tse and Stephen Fung direct "My Beloved," the tale of a disaffected loser (Wu Por) whose love for plastic toy guns takes on bizarre and pathetic extremes. Their short is stylistically intriguing and darkly satirical, but whatever truths we are meant to gleam are lost due to a muddled storyline that can't seem to find its way. "My Beloved" also gets cloying on occasion, and seems to be more enamored of its own cleverness than anybody else in the room. There's a nifty idea here, but it doesn't go anywhere.
     Story three is "Oh G!", the story of two young HK urbanites (Lawrence Chou and Charlene Choi) who meet on ICQ and proceed to date. We witness as they meet, trade barbs, sleep together, exchange tokens of affection and finally settle into the mundane and sometimes trying bliss of boyfriend/girlfriend status. Writer/director GC Goo Bi mines familiar territory with her rather prosaic story, but manages to accomplish far more than anything the previous two films did. There are minor charms and affecting observations in "Oh G!", as well as a beguiling truthfulness that feels refreshing. Both Chou and Choi are natural in their performances, and there is a genuine pleasantness to the production. The only misstep GC Goo Bi makes is an unnecessary narrative device that poses a "what if" possibility. Volumes can be spoken in simplicity; by reaching for more, GC Goo Bi seems to take her film down to film school level.
     Producer Jan Lamb (who is not a neophyte director) wraps things up with a recap/monologue detailing the hard facts of love. "Get together. Go out. Break up. Stay alone. Live together. Sometimes you must step on the brake. And sometimes you must step on the gas." Yes, there is truth to this little film school experiment, as well as a sometimes annoying quality that seems to be saying, "Look at us! We're making a film!" At the very least, Heroes in Love is a valiant attempt at finding talent and new ways of storytelling, a task it succeeds at. Wing Shya and GC Goo Bi could turn out some remarkable work someday, and both Stephen Fung and Nicholas Tse might be decent directors too, though they should probably direct other people's scripts (they co-wrote their short). Still, it's nice to see Hong Kong turn out a film with no regard for commercial or even artistic success. It seems very clear that this is an experiment in potential, and for that Heroes in Love gets high marks. (Kozo 2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

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