Wu Yen (2001)

I purchased a VCD of Wu Yen when it came out shortly after the Lunar New Year in 2001. This film is the third directorial collaboration of Johnnie To Kei-Fung and Wai Ka-Fai. I had certainly enjoyed their previous work together, the romantic comedy Needing You ... (2000) and the satirical Help!!! (2000) quite a bit. With this film, I fell asleep before the first disk played out.

As time went on, the bad “word of mouth” about this film started to grow and then at the end of 2003, the talented songstress and award winning film actress Anita Mui Yim-Fong passed away. My sadness over that tragedy kept me from returning to the film. A couple of years have passed and I recently became cinematically infatuated with Sammi Cheng Sau-Man. Go figure. After seeing and thoroughly enjoying her work in films like Good Times, Bed Times (2003) and Yesterday Once More (2004), I felt that I should return to Wu Yen.

I found that this movie is an intelligent, amazing piece of filmmaking. The performance of Anita Mui Yim-Fong is astounding, perhaps her best. The three lead actresses (Mui, Cheng, and Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi) have remarkable chemistry on screen. All of the supporting cast adds layers of color to the finely crafted screenplay. Steeped in cultural history and nuance, Wu Yen is one of those Hong Kong movies made for local audiences and true Hong Kong cinephiliacs.

Copyright © 2007 John Crawford. All rights reserved.