Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jacky Cheung, Eric Tsang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Sandra Ng, Zhou Xun
Directors: Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Peter Chan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Tai Seng Entertainment Release Date: 12/18/2007 Run time: 97 minutes
Life is a movie - with deleted scenes and added songs
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 11/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Chan's Perhaps Love is an intriguing Chinese/Hong Kong/Malaysian backstage musical built around the notion of life as a movie where we constantly edit our memories and that, while we are all the leading players in our personal movie, we're no more than bit parts rather than co-stars in anybody else's and that consequently life is full of abandoned subplots and deleted footage. With the huge amount of mutual crossover between local pop stars and Hong Kong movies, it's surprising there have been so few movie musicals from that part of the world, but they're thin enough on the ground for this to be marketed as the first Chinese musical in 40 years. Only it's not 'really' a musical - like most modern musicals, it tries to disguise the fact it's a musical by setting its drama against the making of a movie musical as Takeshi Kaneshiro has to come to terms with the fact that the great love of his life (Zhao Xun, excellent in a virtual dual role) has completely edited him out of her memory because to her the past is only useful as a reminder of what to get away from. Her present is Jacky Cheung's director with Fellini syndrome (he can't see what he really wants to do with his film), and she's already rewriting that relationship in expectation of a Hollywood deal. Through it all wanders Ji Jin-hee's angelic keeper of discarded footage, an occasional observer rather than an active participant.
Hong Kong's failed official entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, it's a lavishly mounted affair, with beautiful photography and great design. There are some visual influences from Jacques Demy (most notably an overhead shot of multi-coloured umbrellas) and more overtly in the circus scenes Moulin Rouge, although thankfully the musical numbers are much better shot than Luhrman's effort, and without resorting to excessive ADDS editing. Peter Kam's songs may occasionally sound a little odd to Western ears (although the HK DVD thankfully subtitles the lyrics, a rarity in musicals), but they're surprisingly impressive and memorable, and for the most part well-served by the cast. Kaneshiro may have the face of an angel but he also has the singing voice of Lee Marvin, although since his songs aren't written for a trained voice that's not a major problem. However, Jacky Cheung is quite a revelation to anyone only aware of his work as an actor - not only does he have the strongest voice among the cast, but its the one that puts the real emotional power into his numbers. Its appeal to Western audiences is probably limited to fans of Wong Kar-Wei's brand of morally compromised romanticism, although this is not as exhilarating or daring as the best of Wong, it has more than enough imagination and emotional resonance of its own to make it well worth checking out."
Nearly every scene is a screen saver.
Paul Chiu | Forest Hills, NY United States | 09/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If this film reminds you of Chicago, Singing in the rain, House of flying daggers, or even Curse of the golden flowers. Well, it should as a lot of what's eye candy in those films are incorporated in this tight little love story.
I buy a lot of blu-ray DVDs from Amazon.com and was delighted to finally see a good list of Hong Kong titles. I never heard of this 2005 Hong Kong film, I was very surprised that I bought a musical. I must say it started very slowly but really got interesting once the love triangle plot got sticky.
Perhaps Love must have came out after Chicago as there is plenty of Fosse influence here. It is far different than any Chinese musical from the Shaw period of the 1950's to 1960's Hong Kong. If you are from that period of Hong Kong, this film may not bring back much memories for you, it did not for me. In fact, I got more flashbacks of the Chow Yun Fat's "Better Tomorrow" series from this film, of the modern Hong Kong.
Back to my main point. This is a feast for the eyes, not so much for the ears, although it is a musical. The camera work and art direction is among the best I have ever seen. Still, without a terrific love story, I would have fast forwarded to the next beautiful scene. I did not and in fact, have already watched it 3 times before writing this.
The English track is pretty good and you really do not miss much listening to that and even the lyric translation is "lossless".
Finally, this is a movie and life in China is not this colorful. Perhaps in your dream, but then again, after the 2008 Olympics, the whole world may think all of China is just this attractive. Simply remember not to be disappointed if you ever get the chance to visit mainland China, beyond the big cities.
Perhaps Love delivers on HD promise
J. Scheppler | Plano, TX USA | 01/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't think "Perhaps Love" could be more beautiful than it is in standard DVD format, but I was wrong. This is a movie that deserves to be seen and heard in high-definition. The sumptuous '05 Chinese musical story-within-a-story is a feast for the eyes and ears and this release delivers on Blu-Ray's promise. The first thing I noticed was how sharp the music is in BD HD; every instrument in the orchestra can be heard with remarkable clarity. The power of Jacky Cheung's voice is more enhanced; the pain in Takeshi Kaneshiro's and the vulnerability in Zhou Xun's is more pronounced. Visually, the images all but leap off the screen. In Kaneshiro's opening scene the image is so detailed it's possible to count the whiskers on his face. The dance sequences, already thrilling in standard DVD, feel like they're taking place in your living room in HD. It's really nice to see that a movie doesn't have to be filled with superheroes, robots, car chases, and gunfights to be worth watching in Blu-Ray. If you love the musical format, "Perhaps Love" in Blu-Ray is a treat."
Perhaps Another Time
J. Zapanta-Andrada | 02/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This review may lead the reader to believe that the reviewer is not a fan of Chinese cinema. Far from it- I believe that Chinese films stand among the finest in the world. "Perhaps Love" is a sincere attempt at establishing a Chinese musical in the tradition of Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge". The problem with this film is that it copies "Moulin Rouge" in too many ways. The film turns out like a high-school production of Luhrmann's film. The demi-monde society (Satine's theatrical crowd) is repurposed into Xun's circus folk). "Perhaps Love"'s plot contains too many elements in it to be cohesive and the character's fail to establish any sense of pathos. The dance moves are not difficult to execute and yet the ensemble sorely lacks unison in their movement. In short, there is much to be said about the way the film looks and very little to be said about how the characters perform.
The film is picture pretty, every shot is postcard perfect with colors that scream "Amelie" (Jean-Pierre Jeunet's whimsical film starring Audrey Tautou) from end-to-end.
Jacky Cheung's powerful voice serves him in good stead. But the chemistry between dashingly handsome Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Xun is sadly lacking. It does not help matters further that Zhu-Xun (she of the widely spaced eyes and gamine figure) has a talking voice that resembles a 95-year old frog.
Chinese movies are powerful because they are uncompromising in their identity and treatment. It is because of this lack of substance and originality that "Perhaps Love" is not among Chinese cinema's finest productions."