July Rhapsody
Hong Kong 2002
Directed by Ann Hui.

Jackie Cheung is a dissatisfied poetry teacher, Anita Mui his tired wife, and Karena Lam the student that he feels pulled towards despite the fact that she would unravel the life he has lived so far. A life mostly of obligation, of doing the right thing, without complaint, instead of doing whatever he wants. When his wife's former lover lay in the hospital, dying, and she visits him every day, he goes out with his student, and the distance between them grows. It is a beautiful story, poetic, the best written screenplay of any Hong Kong movie this year. But Ann Hui's usual quality directing is a bit ham-fisted, here, and a recurring cinematic flourish, of the camera slowly panning away from the action, just looks like the cinematographer got bored before the scene ended. Jackie Cheung is exceptional in full midlife crisis mode, but Karena Lam is never entirely convincing, nor is it realistic to most HK movie fans that anyone would leave the beautiful and alluring Anita Mui for any reason.

Rating: Recommended (Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on June 28, 2004.

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