9 November 2006 | rsoonsa
Large-Scale Melodrama Becomes Wearisome Before Something Of Strong Merit Appears.
The first segment of this unnecessarily and inextricably complicated film includes for its greatest part a daughter's attempted research into information concerning her father, whom she knows only from photographs, this segment of a work scripted by Jeffrey Lau (pseudononymously as Kay Oh) suffering from quaint editing that fails to fill numerous plot holes that are in need of darning. A majority of early footage here focuses upon the young woman,Yan (Hilary Tsui) and her quest for her sire's history, but since her stepmother Sheung (Yip San) with whom she resides, will not reveal the slightest amount of information, viewers are instead offered a flock of flashbacks, generally of Yan's father, Fung Tak Shing (Andy Lau), seen as a Tiu Ken Leung Village "Teddy Boy", who advances from being a movie extra and stuntman to having a starring role in a film titled "Days of Tomorrow", additionally including his relationships with three women: Ling (Jan Lau), his lover and co-star in that picture, Nancy Mei Lan (Carrie Ng), a principal producer of the work, and Sheung. Yan is hired as a trainee production assistant for a remake of the feature film that is planned by a prominent producer, Mr. Lui (Henry Fong Ping), because she believes that she will be able to utilize this position to increase chances of discovering facts about her mysterious parent. In the course of her explorations, she visits the village where Shing had lived (and where Nationalist banners created during the leadership period of SunYat-Sen are for some reason displayed). However, as the film moves along, the storyline center shifts towards other relationships, all germane to the original "Days of Tomorrow" with, predictably, surprises coming apace, but in spite of high production values due to some excellent craftsmanship from the crew, the screenplay is to a lesser standard. It is plagued with illogicality within the plot, especially relating to time, and is for the most part clumsily and unrealistically constructed from its very opening scene when Mr. Lui decides to remake "Days of Tomorrow" for no apparent reason, and while some moments are filled with power, their development is too late to save the awkwardly titled (in English) film that is more accurately translated from the Original Chinese as "Length of the Sky, Duration of the Earth." Consistently mawkish material is further weakened by ongoing point of view alterations in addition to unduly casual temporal shifts between past and present events, and an epilogue is appended that is plainly extraneous, but insightfully structured glimpses at the Hong Kong movie making industry during the 1960s are of genuine interest. Ping is seen to advantage during both of this melodrama's wavering time periods, Deanie Yip contributes a nice turn as Ling's mother, while Hilary Tsui's cinematic debut is an impressive one. The Universal Laser DVD version includes trailers of other Hong Kong based films along with some cast biographies, and both visual and sound quality are excellent, while adequate subtitles are offered in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.