Stretching across the canvas of the Sino-Japanese War of the 30s, the subsequent Japanese surrender in 1945, and the onslaught of Communism, this film depicts an ill-fated romance between a talented lady novelist and a Chinese traitor working with the Japanese who fall victim to the mayhem of war and their tragic inability to reconcile political differences. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
more Hong Kong hokum, but on a larger than usual canvas
It's been described as a Chinese 'Dr. Zhivago', but despite an impressive sweep to the crowd scenes this turbulent, 50-year love story between a single-minded writer and a wartime collaborator might well have been called 'Red Soap'. The romance itself is handled with admirable understatement and delicacy, but everything else about this typically energetic, over-the-top Hong Kong production is larger than life, with performances, photography, and a music score pitched near the threshold of hysteria. Director/co-writer Yim Ho tosses everything together into the slowly boiling pot (including a syrupy love song), and the perhaps too busy scenario gives the film a careless, slapdash look (at one point a crew member fanning artificial snow onto the set is clearly visible in a window reflection). Predictably, it all ends in tears, but the lump-in-the-throat epilogue at least adds a graceful coda to the otherwise overwrought melodrama.
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