Wednesday, 18 January 2012


The blindness of hatred creates an environment where only hatred flourishes.

In Revenge: a Love Story (Fuk sau che chi sei ), the DVD having been released on the 9th January 2012 (and, yes, this review is late, I know: mea culpa), upcoming Hong Kong young director Wong Ching Po has taken a typical genre of their industry, the horror film, and transformed it into a fast pacing view not only into the violence of hatred, and the vicious environment it creates, but also into the corruption and abuse resulting from power structures. The intelligence of this film not only lies in its argument on the nature of hatred and its relationships with love and power, which is how I interpreted it, but also in that it can also be read as a visceral and extreme horror thriller, sometimes literally, with plenty of the expected violence and gore. In fact, Terracota, its British distributor, is releasing the DVD under its Terror Cota label. Hollywood B movies used to be the masters of this approach once upon a time, now that mantra has moved to East Asia.

In the opening sequence, two detectives, Jeff (Chin Siu Ho) and Kwok Wah (Tony Ho), investigate a series of murders of pregnant women, their foetuses having been crudely cut from their bodies, causing their deaths. Frog men recover a plastic bag from the river containing the remains of the unborn babies, and, as crucially for the story, the ID card of one of their colleagues, who has disappeared.

A young man is arrested as he tries to escape in a road block. After a brutal interrogation, although the proper word to describe it would be torture, the man, Chan Kit, refuses to cooperate, claiming he has been framed by the police before. The two detectives know about it, as they were part of the team that framed him six months before, earning Chan Kit a period in prison for assault on a police officer.

Intelligently weaved flashbacks reveal the romantic yet dark love story that lies behind the killings, the story of the love between two people on the margins of society, Chan Kit himself (Juno Mak, who does his own absolutely painful stunts, believe me), a low labourer, and Cheng Wing (convincingly played by Japanese porn star Sola Aoi), a mentally retarded school girl. She escapes from a Social Welfare home, where she had been taken after her grandmother, and carer, dies of natural causes, I hastily add. The chief of the local police station, confusing her for a prostitute, rapes her. Chan Kit and Wing, not realizing the identity of the rapist, report the assault. The resulting gang rape leaves her pregnant, and a cover-up that lands him six months in prison.

Six months to silently endure his pain and his burning hatred of those officers, hatred coming from the guts. Quite interestingly, the question of which one of the rapists is the father of her unborn child is never raised, her subsequent action to provide an alibi for him after his arrest, accused of being the serial killer, proves her absolute love for him, a love above everything else, including her own life.

In the completely unexpected ending, utterly shocking, redemption is no longer possible as the violence of hatred has created an environment where innocence cannot flourish, not any more, where the horror of hatred broods in the hearts of those who were, once, innocents.

The original story by Juno Mak, and developed by Lai-yin Leung and Wong Ching Po, has not only produced a visceral horror thriller, but also raised questions about the nature of hatred, violence, love, and power structures. Jimmy Wong's cinematography conveys both the naturalness of their daily lives and the darkness of their story, the rape scene being particularly memorable in its chiaroscuro photography. Dan Findlay's score, also performed by him, adds to the atmosphere of the film.

Revenge: A Love Story is distributed in Britain by Terror Cota, a label of Terracota Distribution. It is already on sale.

Director’s Statement
"REVENGE: A LOVE STORY is a story about hatred. When we were drafting the story, a question arose, "who is the real victim in revenge?'

We were obsessed by this question every moment until one day, I picked up the book "Wild Grass" by Lu Xun. There was an essay entitled 0020 "Vengeance". I came up with a new thought afterwards.

Perhaps the victim is the crowd who sees the happenings but indeed doesn't know anything.
Human beings can never let go of hatred. Being in hatred is like a one way trip into darkness, you will never come back until it is settled.

We wanted the film to relieve the pain brought by hatred, but we failed. We can't imagine how torturing it is to live with hatred after all.

Now the film is finished, everyone returns to their original life. It is my time to fade out from the film. Perhaps the best way out of hatred is to leave.

Revenge: A Love Story (2010)
Won Silver St George Award at 33rd Moscow International Film Festival 2011 for Best Direction Wong Ching Po and Best Director Wong Ching Po
Won 15th Puchon International Film Festival 2011, Best Actor, Juno Mak
Official nomination USA Fantastic Film Festival 2011

Technical Specifications

Bonus tracks:
  • Making Of,
  • Director Interview,
  • Producer Interview,
  • Trailers,
  •  "What is Terracotta Festival?" Featurette.
Hong Kong 2010, Thriller; Certificate: 18.
Running time: 91 mins.
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles.
Audio- Dolby Surround
Ratio- 4:3 Letterboxed


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