Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
(2001; Emperor Multimedia Group / Singing Horse Production)
Cover art courtesy Universe.
Definitely Not Recommended
joi ngor sum
zai wor xin
In My Heart
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, young, affluent Kwun-yee (Charlene Choi
Cheuk-yin from the girl group, Twins) decides to plan her own funeral
and chooses Duan (Eason Chan Yik-shun) to handle the arrangements. Part
of his contract requires that he accompany her and family lawyer Elsa
(Sheila Chan Sak-lan) to New York for a week. Although the girl's father
(Kenneth Tsang Kong) requests that she agree to have an operation, regardless
of what her diagnosis is, Kwun-yee refuses and morbidly goes about her
plans. Duan eventually convinces the girl that she should return home
and undergo the procedure. Kwun-yee starts taking her medication again
and the operation is a success. She regards Duan as her "life-belt"
but he begins avoiding the girl, his way of telling her that she needs
to stand on her own two feet.
Charlene Choi (left) and Eason Chan (right).
Image courtesy Universe.
This is a gentle and comparatively even-handed entry in HK's enduring
"terminal beauty" sub-genre, with handsome cinematography by
Ko Chiu-lam (GREEN SNAKE) and an especially lovely piano and violin score
by Lincoln Lo Kin. The screenplay (co-authored by Anthony Chan Kam-chuen,
Sunny Chan Wing-sun, and the film's director, Joe Ma Wai-ho) falls prey
to some of the usual cliches but nicely sidesteps others and, on the whole,
displays a subtlety that has been mostly absent from Ma's work in recent
years. It also helps that Choi and Chan are so personable, making it easier
to swallow the sentimental "live life to its fullest" maxim
these films always convey. Liu Kai-chi and Pauline Yam Bo-lam co-star.
Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0) and Dubbed Mandarin
(Dolby Digital 5.1)
Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
Coded for ALL Regions
Contains mature themes but no objectionable material
DVD menu courtesy Universe.
Board Ratings and Consumer Advice
Australia: PG (Adult Themes, Low Level Violence)
British Columbia: PG
Hong Kong: I*
* This is
the rating displayed on the packaging but it may be inaccurate as
the theatrical version was rated IIA.
The transfer is crisp and colors are deep when intended to be (the
visuals are mostly subdued by design). As befitting the subject
matter, the sound mix is moderate, with only the score really coming
across with much force. The 2.0 Cantonese track (the default audio)
is raspy and poorly balanced but the 5.1 option is smooth and appealing,
with more distinct separations. Extras consist of a trailer and
a section labelled "Deleted Scene" that actually contains
15 minutes of material (in Cantonese with no subtitle options).
There are actually only two deleted scenes; the remainder are extended
versions of sequences included in the final cut. The extra footage
fleshes out the characters a bit more and, in particular, explains
why Sheila Chan's character acts the way she does. FUNERAL MARCH's
New York scenes were shot in August and the film included a shot
of the World Trade Center in its original assembly. The producers
decided to remove it prior to release but that brief bit of footage
has been included in this section. Star Files on Chan, Choi, and
Ma round out the extras.
FUNERAL MARCH is available at Poker