Fly Me to Polaris

Produced by Raymond Chow. Executive producer, David Chan.

Produced by Raymond Chow. Executive producer, David Chan.

Directed by Jingle Ma. Screenplay, Lo Chi-leung, Yeung Sin-ling. Camera (color, widescreen), Ma, Chan Kwok-hung; editor, Kwong Chi-leong; music, Peter Kam; art director, Silver Cheung. Reviewed on videocassette, Hong Kong, Nov. 26, 1999. Original title: Sing yun. (Cantonese dialogue.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Richie Ren, Cecilia Cheung, William So, Eric Tsang, Eric Kot, Sheren Tang, Lam San-san.

Carousel” meets “Stairway to Heaven” in the Fragrant Harbor in “Fly Me to Polaris,” a full-bodied, old-fashioned heart-warmer that sour souls will dismiss as glossy pap and more forgiving ones wallow in with abandon. Second directorial outing by ace lenser Jingle Ma is a considerable advance on his uninvolving techno-actioner “Hot War,” and contains more than a hint of the wishful mellers essayed by Peter Chan at UFO in the early ’90s.

Aside from its high-sheen, light-play look, pic is notable for the way it never draws breath, constructing an atmosphere of romantic enchantment (enhanced by Peter Kam’s superb score) that you either buy into or not. Onion (Taiwanese singer Richie Ren) is a dumb and blind sanitarium resident who, after being killed in a car accident, is allowed five days back on Earth with his full faculties as long as he doesn’t reveal his identity. Posing as an insurance investigator, he tries to romance his nurse, Autumn (cutie du jour Cecilia Cheung), away from her boorish doctor b.f. (William So). Small character touches enhance the simple central story, whose original title literally means “Wish Upon a Star.”

Fly Me to Polaris

(HONG KONG)

Production: A Golden Harvest release of a GH Pictures (China)/Deltamac Co./Sil-Metropole Organization presentation of a Jayline production. (International sales: Golden Harvest, Hong Kong.)

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