@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2012
“In these 10 years, is it the Pacific Ocean that separates the three of us, or is it our own wrong views of friendship. People are meant to be looking forward, but my heart keeps looking back…” – Alan Tam
One of my favourite moments at the 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival, must be the screenings of many of Peter Chan Ho Sun’s classic hits. Having watched Alan And Eric: Between Hello And Goodbye years ago, it is most certainly of my utmost pleasure to revisit it again and on the big screen. Although the film may not be as polished as director Chan’s later works, the key signature and flares are there to be seen. The amount of details Chan goes into creating and exploring these characters, relationships and the key ingredients of friendship is as evident here as his later works. Chan loves to stress on the value of friendship and brotherhood and not unlike Warlords, the male bonding duo of the amazingly subdued Eric Tsang and the then youthful Alan Tam is simply undeniably amazing to watch. The chemistry between the two exceeds that of the love triangle that involved the beautiful Maggie Cheung and that’s some powerful stuff.
Of the three, Eric Tsang stands out heads and shoulders above Tam and Cheung. Tsang despite his miniature statue is able to hit the right notes and play out a difficult and conflicted character that pretty carries the film from start to finish. His ability to sacrifice his love for Tam is heart-warming and the platonic friendship between Maggie and Eric is extremely believable and involving. However the key ingredient to this film is most certainly the brotherhood of Alan and Eric. Just reviewing this film right now, I am reminded of the regrets and feelings that Chan is able to transcend to the audience in the emotional finale quadrant of the film. Likewise, Alan does a professional job in his role and performs naturally and Maggie Cheung is steadfast without being stunning.
All in all, Alan And Eric: Between Hello And Goodbye is a wonderful example of early 90s Hong Kong Golden Cinema. It may lack the sleek and polish productions of Chan’s later works, but all the ingredients are there. There isn’t really much to dislike about this film and viewing it more than 20 years, the issues of friendship, bonding and lifelong friends are still as relevant as ever. Perhaps, Chan took a bit of a short-cut in creating a terminal illness finale, but for what it is worth; Alan And Eric is really a fine film to boot. As for Eric Tsang, what more can you say, even if you didn’t win the girl, you bloody won the audience’s heart…
Neo rates it 8.5/10
P.S. Alan Tam also sings one of my all time favourite song – 一生中最愛