Autumn Diary, An
Hong Kong 2003
Directed by Lam Kim Lung.

There are a lot of points to recommend this film, if only it didn't just boil down to the same tired, formulaic tripe that we've been served so many times before. Nicola Cheung is a spoiled rich girl who has patterned her life around the Cherie Cheung, Chow Yun-Fat romance AN AUTUMN'S TALE. She longs for a tough, straight-talking, down to earth, Chow Yun-Fat type, but instead is encouraged by her father to marry a geek whose sole purpose in the film is to be the recipient of a running joke involving a knee to the groin. When all seems hopeless, she meets Ambrose Hsu, a tough, straight-talking, down to earth, Chow Yun-Fat type. He has a group of lovable but eccentric friends, of course, and from here the plot follows the predictable path so well worn by so many that have come before.

The movie makes use of extensive footage from AN AUTUMN'S TALE to frame the narrative. This is nice, because it's a good movie and Chow Yun-Fat is enjoyable to watch, but ultimately self-destructive, because AN AUTUMN DIARY, shot on video and very Yun-Fatless, suffers hugely by comparison. I could only keep thinking, "They don't make films like they used to," and AN AUTUMN DIARY is the obvious example.

The most bizarre element of the film is the choice made by the scriptwriter to pretend AN AUTUMN'S TALE wasn't a movie at all. In the world of this movie, it is a true story, contained in a diary, that was washed up onto a beach and found by Nicola Cheung. So the diary is illustrated by scenes from the old movie, but that movie supposedly doesn't exist in this universe, and when she tells the story to someone else, they don't immediately say, "Oh, I saw that movie," like you might expect. The script, in all points, is the weakest point of the entire production.

The direction, on the other hand, is quite interesting. AN AUTUMN DIARY is shot on digital video, and cheaply. But refreshingly the director Lam Kim Lung does not use standard film language to tell the story. He reaches into the video toolbox and pulls out all kinds of tricks that are easy to do in the format, including many picture-in-picture shots, split screens, and computerized fades. They are all a bit overused, but it is refreshing to see a director who at least is attempting to develop a new approach to moviemaking based on this new technology.

But not all the camera tricks and Chow Yun-Fat flashbacks in the world can save AN AUTUMN DIARY. Not even ogling Nicola Cheung, or if you prefer, Ambrose Hsu, can save it. Nice try, though.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on May 19, 2004.


hey does ambrose hsu has a email adress if yes please send it to me..thank you

Posted by: kathy at September 9, 2004 08:36 AM

hey i would lik to find the title of the theme... please..

Posted by: lene at December 26, 2004 09:42 PM

U can check his email address at, it's Chinese website.

Posted by: Nguyen at June 28, 2005 04:59 AM

Is there any english fan site? I went to Ambrose but i can hardly read a word. Can you post his e-mail add here or direct to my e-mail account?

Posted by: Venus at August 19, 2005 11:03 AM

hmm.. does anyone know wat is the theme song for the autumn diary...?

Posted by: ning at September 3, 2006 10:37 AM

heyy.. whats the name of the theme song to 'an autumn diary'? its really nice and i want it. dtoo bad don't know who sang it.. and don't know the name >__> please help out here

Posted by: loserlicious[; at October 9, 2006 01:04 PM

hey i like your movie alot because it really sad and funny.. and lovely.. so .. much..

Posted by: bao at March 2, 2007 02:24 PM

hey, do u noe the song in the autumn diary. the song that the guy always sing. i really like it. if u find it can u send me the name of that song and the artist who sing it. thx.

Posted by: trisha at April 4, 2007 05:47 PM

hey i was just wondering since everybody is wanting the theme song in autumn diary..can i have it also..i mean i want the english translation to the theme song...i went on youtube..but they dont have the english if anybody has it then..can they be kind enough to give it to me...thank you...

Posted by: aleson at August 21, 2007 02:29 PM
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