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Sam Fooi (English/Cantonese) [First Love And Other Pains]

This film has the look of a low-budget film by an inexperienced film-maker. However, it has an interesting story, two interesting main characters, and ultimately is worth watching.

This film follows the relationship between an English professor Hugh who happens to be a bitter, alcoholic writer in Hong Kong, and Mark, one of his prize students. At first, Mark is merely another student in one of Hugh's classes, but Mark's talent soon brings him to Hugh's attention, and once Mark gets to know Hugh a little better, he is clearly smitten with Hugh. While Hugh tries to push Mark away at first, one night, Mark enters Hugh's apartment to find him drunk in the bathtub, and they give way to their passion. Hugh wants to put a stop to this but Mark pursues it. Having failed in making no progress in his writing abilities, Hugh attempts suicide. Mark then saves his life and takes care of him. This in turn brings them closer and the film ends with them looking for an apartment together. Whether they are living together or not is left upto viewers imagination.

The acting is ok but the motivation behind Mark getting so smitten by Hugh despite the very obvious huge age gap is not very clear. Also the film really doesn't explore many of the issues related to the disparity in either age or culture, which is a pity. It seems like the director had just a thought of showing a young boy falling for an old man and then he wove a story around it. The good thing is at least the film is short.

Strictly ok. Novel concept which wasn't explored completely. (3/10)


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