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Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Current Cinema - OUR TIME WILL COME - Kiki Fung sends in the first report on Ann Hui's major new oilm

Editor's Note: There is much interest swirling round the arrival of Ann Hui's new film. The Film Alert blog has already posted editor Mary Stephen's poetic introduction to the film. Spoiler alert. Maximum appreciation of Kiki's post will only be achieved by those who can read Mandarin.  I'm expecting more notes and reviews in the near future. All are welcome and will be published asap. Now read on....

Zhou Xun, Our Time Will Come
Some very quick thoughts after a long day:
I guess different people see different things in OUR TIME WILL COME, and that could be one of the great things about it. 
The way I see it, this film is about life under occupation, the resistance spirit, and the preciousness of solidarity (Ann Hui's conviction to a world of kindness and integrity is very moving...though we know it is idealistic)

The many scenes of underground resistance work are solid proof that this film is anything but propaganda.

To me a very important scene is when Jinrong (the boyfriend of the female protagonist, played by Zhou Xun) and some girls are drinking with a Japanese soldier. The Japanese soldier said, "The British enslaved you, we come to liberate you." To which one girl responds, "Liberate? With guns and roadblocks?"
The message is clear...let's forget about the literal representations and think about the symbolic, recalling Wong Kar-wai's metaphor of 面子 and 裡子...
Another interesting bit: the singing of a Chinese nationalistic/ propaganda song is followed, not long after, by a Japanese nationalistic song. 
The core meaning in 蘇軾's《水調歌頭》lies not in「明月幾時有」, BUT in「我欲乘風歸去,又恐瓊樓玉宇,高處不勝寒。起舞弄清影,何似在人間」- the ambivalence between having a firm grip on reality and sticking to practicality, and resigning to one's noble ideal which may result in dire circumstances. This, perhaps, is symbolic of Ann Hui's deep sentiments (the ambivalence between continuing to make films with practical concessions, and holding on to one's moral high ground)??

The film's Chinese title literally reads, as Masatoshi Nagase's character recites, "When comes the full moon?". The moon as a symbol for peace and reunion is as relevant in the Ci poetry that the film's Chinese title references, as in the theme song of IN THE MOON FOR LOVE - 《花樣的年華》, which was first used in a film about the turmoil of war 《長相思》(1947, AN ALL-CONSUMING LOVE), starring the song's singer, Zhou Xuan. I thought about AN ALL-CONSUMING LOVE as I was watching OUR TIME WILL COME today. Similarly, the 1947 film was about how people from different social classes struggle to survive the occupation. This was what I wrote about that film in 2007:
電影所關心的,不是山河破碎的悲痛,而是在戰爭的磨蝕下,不同的人如何掙扎求存:賢淑的少婦為了養活家姑到歌廳獻唱,歌女為了維持奢侈生活周旋在漢奸的圈子,知識分子則誓死不降(當然,影片在這方面的刻劃還不夠深入)。有趣的是,歌女結交漢奸之餘還存有良知,最後利用漢奸救人;你可以理解為中國抗戰電影的必然窠臼,卻也可以看成是那時的電影工作者比較單純,對人性中光明還抱著一份樂觀。
I also saw a great deal of loving sentiments towards Hong Kong and its history. 

I have lots of personal feelings for this film...perhaps more later.

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