The Sword (1980) — August 24, 2013
Patrick Tam’s feature debut is a melancholy end of the line wuxia about a swordsman who learns that running around challenging people to duels for no reason other than pride in your own hierarchical ranking tends to have unintended consequences, namely a bunch of people get killed for no reason. Spectacular and gory fencing scenes choreographed by Ching Siu-tung represent some of his best work, with the fast-cut wirework leavened by Tam’s keen sense of space and the stuntman skills of the lower-tier stars. Like Tsui Hark’s The Butterfly Murders, Tam brings a modernist sensibility to the non-action scenes, with rigid right-angle dialogue scenes and Tarkovskian movements through off-screen space, where characters pop up unexpectedly in the midst of long sequence shots.
Cherie (1984) — September 8, 2013
Patrick Tam-directed romcom that starts with date rape comedy and ends with the heroine tricking the two assholes who want her (one stark naked (The Other Tony Leung), the other dressed like Indiana Jones (classic Shaw Brothers director Chor Yuen)) into almost killing each other while she happily boats away.
After This Our Exile (2006) — August 27, 2013
Great performances, lovely Lee Ping-bing cinematography, easily the most depressing film of the Summer of Sammo.
I was expecting this one to turn into Kramer vs. Kramer, but it pretty much just stayed Kramer Sucks.
I admire Tam’s willingness to not give it the happy ending. Though I can’t say I enjoyed it much.