[36HKIFF] Comrades, Almost a Love Story 甜蜜蜜 (1996) – Hong Kong
@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival
What more do i need to say about this film that hasn’t been spoken before. All I can say is that I am thankful to witness this film again on the big screen, even if it is 16 years too late. In creating “Comrades Almost a Love Story” (“Comrades”), director Peter Chan has not only produced a great local romantic drama, but a timeless romantic masterpiece for generations ahead. It is in this film, that Maggie Cheung finally showed her true colours of a maturing actress. There are countless moments in “Comrades” that would go on to become iconic cinematic scenes that defines Hong Kong cinema. Such as the bike scene when Leon proclaims that “I have a car” and go on and show Maggie a bike. She smartly responded “In Hong Kong, a bike is not a car”. The film deals with many issues still of relevance today, namely the cultural differences of mainlanders living in Hong Kong, sex, belonging, and friendship and possibly love. It must be complimented of the amount of details Chan goes into portraying Hong Kong in different decades. It is perhaps due to the details and character’s depth that Chan loves to focus on, which ultimately made “Comrades”, one of Hong Kong’s most important film of all-time.
As mentioned before, Maggie Cheung was truly amazing. Cheung was the shining light and it was her not Leon Lai that carry the film on her strong shoulders. In a complete and well-rounded award winning performance, Cheung is able to portray a complicated character that changes through time and experiences. The manner in which she is able to communicate her emotions is extremely noteworthy. The scene when Cheung is in the car and Leon walks back and kiss her remains one of the most powerful scene that is about to connect and leave a lasting impression on the audience. For Leon Lai, it is really more of the same. Credit should be given to Peter Chan for not requiring Lai to act and made the most out of his expressionless face. However, the key ingredient is most definitely the radiating chemistry between the duo that makes the film so believable and relatable. The film is also ably supported by the ever beautiful Kristy Yeung and the scene stealing Eric Tsang as the good hearted, triad boss. Tsang simply made this character his very own. In the boat scene, when Maggie confronts Eric about their relationship, he calmly said: “There are plenty of men, once you step outside this door”. It is a kind of unconditional love, that Eric made the scene both bittersweet and romantic at the same time.
All in all, “Comrades” is not just another 90s romantic classic, but rather a timeless tale of Hong Kong through the years of change. In making “Comrades”, Chan has created something more than special, in actual fact – a masterpiece. So catch it, before you regret it! If two words can sum up this flick – simply romantic…
Neo rates it 10/10