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Sealed with a Kiss

Executive in charge of production, Patrick Tong.

Executive in charge of production, Patrick Tong.

Directed by Derek Chiu. Screenplay, Hui Hong. Camera (color), Cheung Tung-leung; editor, Chan Chi-wai; music, Van Lock, Chris Cho; art director, Gemma To. Reviewed at AMC multiplex, Kowloon Tong, Nov. 28, 1999. Original title: Tim yin mat wah. (Cantonese dialogue.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: Louis Koo, Yo Yo Mung, Raymond Wong, Siu Au.

Beneath the saccharine English title of Derek Chiu’s latest pic, “Sealed With a Kiss,” lies a simple, Truffaut-esque love story that’s a fine addition to the little-discussed Hong Kong subgenre of pics set in the small communities of the territory’s myriad islands. Asiaphiles have already noted its qualities, and some festival exposure looks indicated.

In his half-dozen or so movies to date, Chiu has worked in almost every genre , at his best bringing a fresh spin on familiar material (“Mr. Sardine,” “The Log”). “Kiss” limns the escape of looker Mandy (Yo Yo Mung, rather bland here) to tiny Peng Chau after a breakup with her b.f. Rooming in the house of the mute , slightly simple Kam Shui (Louis Koo, surprisingly good), she stirs amorous feelings in the social misfit that unsettle his best pal, tough-talking tomboy Angel (Siu Au, very fine), who’s secretly in love with him. Simple tale is realistically shot, its impact rooted in character play and details of island life. Well-known title song is effectively employed, and Chiu’s use of cool, rapid dissolves helps maintain an unslushy tone by keeping the viewer at an emotional distance.

Sealed with a Kiss

(HONG KONG)

Production: A Mei Ah presentation of a Milkyway Image (Hong Kong) production. Produced by Li Kuo-hsing. Executive producer, Johnnie To.

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