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August 1st, 2000 Issue #1

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

NOTE: In this inaugural installment of Hong Kong Digital, the review for LOST AND FOUND has been excerpted from The Hong Kong Filmography. Information about the DVD edition, written specifically for Hong Kong Digital, follows.

Lost and Found
(1996; Golden Harvest/United Filmmakers Organization/Golden Movies International): 9/10

Cover art courtesy Mei Ah.
Tin aai hoi gok

Tian ya hai jiao

Edge of the World

Cinematographer: Bill Wong Chung-bo
Art Director: James Cheung Ying-wah
Music: Mark Lui Chung-tak
Writer/Producer/Director: Lee Chi-ngai
Cast: Kelly Chan Wai-lam (Kelly Chai Lam), Takeshi Kaneshiro ("That Worm"), Michael Wong Man-tak (Ted), Hilary Tsui Ho-ying (Wai), Josie Ho Chiu-yee (Yee), Jordan Chan Siu-chun (Chu), Cheung Tat-ming (Ming), Henry Fong Ping (Chai Ming), Maria Cordero (Jane's Mom), Moses Chan Ho (Lone), Teddy Chan Tak-sum (Teddy)
Dolby Stereo
VHS: Tai Seng
Import LD/VCD/DVD: Mei Ah
109 minutes

A life-affirming and genuinely heart-warming drama, Lost and Found has the kind of storyline that one hesitates to relate to friends for fear they will dismiss the movie out of turn, particularly as it sounds like an imitation of C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri. It is definitely more than that and ranks among the United Filmmakers Organization's best productions to date. 23 year-old woman Chai Lam has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is given only a 30% chance of recovery. One day she sees a man fishing a wallet out of a garbage can. He turns out to be a Mongolia-born "lost and found" expert whose name translates into Cantonese as "That Worm." A gregarious sort, Worm (who knows nothing about Lam's condition) tackles the woman's request that he find Eurasian sailor Ted, whom she last saw four days ago. She has become interested in Ted and his home, the Scottish island of St. Kilda, which consists mostly of graveyards. When her rather cold and distant father refuses to allow her to continue working, Lam throws away her medication and decides that she would like to visit the island, which is known as "The Edge of the World." She and Worm are eventually able to track Ted down just as he is about to fly back home and take over running the family inn. Before she accepts Ted's invitation to visit him on St. Kilda, Lam helps Worm to try and grant the wish of a young girl, whose mother is in the hospital and on the verge of death.

Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Lam's terminal illness can be interpreted as a metaphor for the countdown to the July 1, 1997 reunification, with all of the uncertainty that date posed for HK's citizens, and Lost and Found is primarily about life, love, and identity. While the film has its share of quirky moments, writer/producer/director Lee Chi-ngai displays a steady hand when it comes to sentimentality, keeping things from going too far in any direction, thus readily allowing the viewer to be drawn in and moved by the characters, their observations, and the imagery. The Scottish locations are predictably beautiful and effective use is made of different musical styles (particularly Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love," which is heard several times). The performances are all on target; even the usually hapless Michael Wong does good work, though one is hard-pressed to believe that he has a drop of Scottish blood in him. Depending on how receptive you have been to everything preceding it, the final sequence just might reduce you to tears, but it is a good cry in both senses of the term.

Image courtesy Mei Ah.

DVD Specs:

Mei Ah #DVD-044
Dolby Digital Stereo (2.0)
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
Chinese and English subtitles (permanent)
Letterboxed (1.69:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category I

LOST AND FOUND boasts the same pleasing transfer as Mei Ah's laserdisc and VCD versions. As usual with this company's early DVDs, there is no menu or extras, and chapters are merely placed at five minute intervals throughout. The theatrical Chinese and English subtitles look a bit unstable but are always legible and the digital compression is of a higher standard than that found on the company's other titles from this time (there is no sign of that annoying "digital haze" that plagues many MA releases). The Cantonese (sync sound) and Mandarin stereo tracks sound a little compressed but adequate. Like all Mei Ah discs, there are no time functions.


Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review