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Forever And Ever

Sylvia Chang's performance as the mother of an HIV victim brings dignity and some substance to "Forever and Ever," a well meaning but flawed disease-of-the-week pic. It's a wobbly directorial debut by one of Hong Kong's best scriptwriters, Raymond To ("Peking Opera Blues," "Hu-Du-Men"), who can't maintain a consistent tone with his cast.

With:
With: Sylvia Chang, Josie Ho, Chris Lee, Chatman To, Joe Cheung, Perry Chin, Lau Tin-chi, Ann Hui, Chin Lau, Fredric Mao, Koo Tin-lung. (Cantonese dialogue.)

Sylvia Chang’s performance as the mother of an HIV victim brings dignity and some substance to “Forever and Ever,” a well meaning but flawed disease-of-the-week pic. It’s a wobbly directorial debut by one of Hong Kong’s best scriptwriters, Raymond To (“Peking Opera Blues,” “Hu-Du-Men”), who can’t maintain a consistent tone with his cast and employs an unnecessary flashback structure that’s dramatically bumpy. Local biz looks to be mild; offshore, some fests may warm to the movie’s theme.

Based on two autobiographical books by Chi Mo, who died in 1996 at age 23, pic starts in the present with Chi Mo’s mom (Chang) trying to comfort a nervous young woman, Fion (Josie Ho, over-cooked), who’s just been diagnosed HIV positive. Script shifts between flashbacks to the hemophiliac Chi Mo (Chris Lee, OK) as a teenager — discovering he’s been infected via a contaminated blood transfusion — and ongoing meetings between his mom and Fion, as the latter draws succor from Chi Mo’s positive approach to his fate. Pic avoids pushing obvious emotional buttons, but its characters rarely involve the viewer as real people rather than archetypes. Tech credits are pro.

Forever And Ever

Hong Kong

Production: An Emperor Movie Group presentation of a Eunice & Tonia Entertainment Co. production. (International sales: EMG, Hong Kong.) Produced by Albert Yeung. Executive producer, Clifton Ko. Directed, written by Raymond To, from two autobiographical books by Chi Mo.

Crew: Camera (color), Mark Lee; editor, Poon Hung; music, Marco Wan; art director, Bill Lui; costumes, Nelson Cheung. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 17, 2001. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Sylvia Chang, Josie Ho, Chris Lee, Chatman To, Joe Cheung, Perry Chin, Lau Tin-chi, Ann Hui, Chin Lau, Fredric Mao, Koo Tin-lung. (Cantonese dialogue.)

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