Life after Life
Hong Kong 1982
Directed by Peter Yung.

George Lam is a well-to-do technology and astrology whiz who gets hired by businessman Patrick Tse to design a Fashion Show like no other. He picks Flora Cheung as the lead model, and decides on some creepy old wooden puppets as part of the show theme. But the puppets seem to be trying to tell him something, and pretty soon he comes to suspect he was murdered in a previous life, with the puppets the only witnesses. As he unravels the mystery, he looks set to be killed again, and by the same, non-reincarnated person that killed him the last time, no less.

George Lam as usual spends the movie hiding behind his moustache -- if he shaved, would anyone even recognize him? Flora Cheung is quite sexy as the model, though she strikes up a relationship with both men, it is hard to picture exactly why she is keen on the businessman Patrick Tse at all, as he is looking rather worse for wear and occasionally acts just a tad suspicious. I'm a sucker for evil puppets, and these theater puppets are sufficiently sinister (Though admittedly, they don't hold a candle to the malevolent puppet in Attack of the Joyful Goddess).

Director Peter Yung was one of the new artists who was heralded by critics as ushering in the Hong Kong "New Wave" with his 1979 film THE SYSTEM, along with Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, and Alex Cheung. By 1981, the "New Wave" seemed derailed as Tsui Hark founded Cinema City as a commercial, rather than an artistic, interest. But several of the New Wave directors made films at Cinema City subsequently, with his support, such as Peter Yung, and LIFE AFTER LIFE.

LIFE AFTER LIFE would be a fun movie to see in the movie theater since part of the production involves Lam's mega-slide show visual design, creating some interesting static picture visuals of space and nature, with often overly creepy music on top. In fact the final fashion show is somewhat alarming, perhaps not the impact a designer would be going for. But no matter. The VCD from Deltamac, now out of print, looks like it uses a remastered print, it has a very crisp and clean image.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 17, 2005.

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