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September 19th, 2000 Issue #11

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.


The following review has been excerpted from The Hong Kong Filmography. The DVD information that follows has been written specifically for Hong Kong Digital.

Au Revoir, Mon Amour
aka Till We Meet Again
(1991; Golden Harvest/Paragon Films): 5/10

Cover art courtesy Mega Star.

Ho yat gwan joi loi

He ri jun zai lai

Will Mr. Sun Come Back?

Cinematographers: Bill Wong Chung-bo, David Chung Chi-man, Peter Pau Tak-hei, Peter Ngor Chi-kwan
Art Directors: Eddie Ma Poon-chiu, Horace Ma Kwong-wing; Music: Anthony Lun Wing-leung, Chan Ming-to
Writers: Jerry Liu Wing-leung, Gordon Chan Kar-seung
Producer: Chua Lam
Action Director: Mang Hoi
Director: Tony Au Ding-ping
Cast: Anita Mui Yim-fong (Wu Mei), Tony Leung Kar-fai (Shen), Carrie Ng Kar-lai (Mrs. Wu), Hidekazu Akai (Lieutenant Noguchi), Kenneth Tsang Kong (Wu), Norman Tsui Siu-keung (Tieh), Chikako Aoyama (Woman at Japanese Embassy)
Dolby Digital (DVD only)
VHS: Tai Seng (No Subtitles)
Import LD/VCD: Star Entertainment (No Subtitles)
Import DVD: Mega Star
124 minutes
Also known as Till We Meet Again (Mega Star DVD title)

Anita Mui Yim-Fong. Image courtesy Mega Star.

Shanghai, December 1941: the Japanese occupation of China has been in place for four years. One evening, five Japanese monks are murdered in the streets. Shen, a visitor to the city, learns that the killers were Chinese and hired by a Japanese man. Trying to get some answers out of the latter, Shen ends up in a life and death struggle with him but is saved by the intervention of Mei. The pair first met five years earlier, but their subsequent relationship came to an abrupt end when Shen left to fight for the revolutionary forces.

Tony Leung Kar-Fai. Image courtesy Mega Star.

Although she still harbors anger towards Shen, Mei soon falls in love with him all over again. She also has feelings for Noguchi, an honest and compassionate Japanese embassy official, who helps her smuggle Shen past the secret police to safety. Shen again leaves Mei to fight with the underground, even after he finds that she is now pregnant with his child. When Noguchi discovers that Shen has been killed during a raid by the secret police, he and proposes marriage to Mei and she accepts. However, he is mistaken: Shen survived the attack and has been ordered to liquidate Noguchi and his love.

Carrie Ng Kar-Lai. Image courtesy Mega Star.

An absolutely gorgeous production -- from the photography to the costumes -- this is, alas, a shallow and aloof affair, more akin to a soap opera than the sweeping dramatic epic the filmmakers clearly aimed for. Anita Mui and Tony Leung Kar-fai are fine, as is boxer-turned-actor Hidekazu Akai (as one of the few sympathetic Japanese characters to be found in HK cinema) but their love triangle cannot compare at all to the one found in director Tony Au's Dream Lovers, and this film also lacks the passion so evident throughout that earlier work. Au Revoir, Mon Amour remains heartily recommended to those who admire HK cinema for its artistry; on this count, it is an undeniable success, offering up some of the most stunning visuals in memory. If only the screenplay possessed a comparable degree of proficiency.

Hidekazu Akai and Norman Tsui Siu-keung. Image courtesy Mega Star.

DVD Specs:

Mega Star #MS/DVD/026/98
Dolby Digital Stereo (5.1)
Mandarin language only
Optional subtitles in English, Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), Japanese, Korean, Bahasa (Malaysia or Indonesia), Thai, and Spanish
9 Chapters illustrated in the menu with clips
Letterboxed (1.85:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category II
119 minutes (at 25 frames-per-second; running time at regular projection speed would be 124 minutes)
Macrovision Encoded

DVD menu courtesy Mega Star.
For some reason, Mega Star has released AU REVOIR, MON AMOUR on DVD with the new name TILL WE MEET AGAIN on the box and the disc; the original remains on the film itself. The Cantonese version presumably runs shorter, as the movie is presented here in Mandarin only. Alas, it has been subjected to one of the label's 5.1 remixes, adding a few good separations and a lot of annoying reverb to what was undoubtedly a mix that didn't need any such tampering to begin with. The picture quality is more satisfying, fortunately. The image is very nice for the most part, with a slight haze at times (not a major problem, given the period setting and nostalgic leanings of the cinematography) and the source material suffers from only light speckling. However, the decision to cram a two hour movie, a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, and nine subtitle options onto a single layer DVD results in heavy compression and, inevitably, some artifacting. While problems are not major, there is still occasional smearing, and rainfall, in particular, looks unnatural. The master used for the disc has been converted from a PAL video transfer, resulting in slightly accelerated playback. There are no time functions and the only extras are a theatrical trailer, the standard Media Asia promo, and notes/filmographies for Tony Au, Anita Mui, and Tony Leung Kar-fai.

Anita Mui Yim-Fong. Image courtesy Mega Star.

Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

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