愛在別鄉的季節 (1990)
Farewell China


Reviewed by: cpardo
Date: 07/15/2005
Summary: Grim but powerful

Farewell China explores the dark side of the "American Dream" through the eyes of Two Mainland immigrants, one who sneaks into NY illegally just to find his missing wife who came ahead of them.

It's a pretty interesting film even though it's very grim and downbeat. It has lots of interesting scenes of scrounging for food, living in appalling conditions, violence and having to resort to pimping a teenage Chinese girl for money and more. Is there hope for them? Not really and that's the point of the film. Living in America is not as rosey as it's made out to be. Maggie Cheung and Leung Kar-fei both are great in the movie, and I got to give credit to the director and writer (a husband and wife team) to have the guts to show things as it is. It's a very pessimistic view of Chinese living in NY, but it's supposed to be. It's hard to watch, but definitely not something forgotten.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/13/2002
Summary: Not bad

Well, the best point I want to make about Farewell China is the excellent performances by Tony Leung and especially Maggie Cheung. I don’t recall a better performance by either in any other film they’ve done. However, the film is set at a very slow pace and the story is very thin, which is a great shame considering the stars performances. Although the plot has been done several times since, this was one of the first HK films to point out the negative side of Chinese living abroad (especially in New York, where this is based). The story is very depressing, but more dull than sad really, even though it’s clearly supposed to make the viewer sad. It’s also supposed to give the viewer the idea of mystery about what happened to Maggie Cheung’s character, but that doesn’t work either.

I am however still a bit undecided about this film, as this is the first time in about 5 years since I last saw it, and I still don’t know if I either love it or not (a bit like the last reviewer actually). I’m more inclined to love it though really because of the performances, but the story and overall look is pretty poor.

[3/5]


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 07/30/2001
Summary: Intense and depressing

The first Clara Law film I ever saw. Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to like any of her films. They all seem to be either depressing or dull, though technically very well made.

Full marks to Tony and Maggie for top class acting, but the tone is so overwhelmingly negative, and this blanks out all the good points. Perhaps I've just met too many people like Maggie's character in real life. Brittle, manipulative and destructive bitches are not hard to find, and her character's treatment of the sensitive char Tony plays is truly unforgivable.

In summary, you'll either love this film or loathe it. I loathed it. Also, this is likely to be a good guide as to whether you love or loathe Law's other films.

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

This film comes from the same director/screenwriter combo as created Autumn Moon, an absolutely fabulous film. This gave
me high expectations. At first, I was severely disappointed. After the first ten minutes of this film, it just gets absolutely
terrible. Fortunately, after a fairly poor twenty minutes, the film starts to get better and better.

The basic plot is this. Ah Hung (Maggie Cheung) goes to America, presumably with the intention of becoming a legal citizen
so as to bring over her husband Nansan (Tony Leung) and young child. After about a year there, Nansan loses touch with
her and decides to sneak into the country to find her in New York City.

So far, so good. It is when Nansan gets to New York that we take a detour into pure garbage for the next fifteen to twenty
minutes. I have never seen such a stereotypical and ridiculous portrait of New York City. Having been to NYC many times,
allow me to reassure you that it is just not like that. It is not populated solely by predators and lunatics, as Farewell China
seems to imply. Granted, it would be extremely difficult to go there knowing almost no one and barely speaking English.
Nonetheless, what we see during this portion is really pushing the 'big bad city' envelope. The other problem with this
portion of the film is that the actors in this part (besides Tony Leung) are really pretty bad, especially the English speaking
ones.

Fortunately, the movie gets much better. As Nansan tracks down his wife we start to learn her story in flashback from the
people who interacted with her. This is where it starts to get more interesting, as well as more disturbing.

Life is difficult for illegal immigrants (actually, life is difficult for anyone who is poor). This film, once it gets over its initial
weaknesses, does a great job of showing this without going over the top.

The film is emotionally intense without being forced or manipulative. A lot of credit for this should go to Tony Leung. He is
really fantastic in this film. I'd seen him before in numerous other films, and while I'd liked him, he didn't really shine like
he does here. Maggie Cheung is also quite good. However, I did find her British accent (when speaking English) a bit
distracting since she is supposed to have learned most of her English in the US.

Though this film didn't entirely live up to my expections (set by the fabulous Autumn Moon) it is worth sitting through the
poor parts at the beginning to get to the rest of the film, which is a moving experience.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Clara Law's award-winning drama exposes the harsh realities thatunderlie many Mainland Chinese dreams of emigration and in the process, brings the bizarre subterranean world of illegal immigrants in New York City to the screen for the first time. When Zhou (Tony Leung from Annaud's The Lover) loses contact with his wife, Li (Maggie Cheung), who has been studying in the USA for the past year, he frantically goes to find her. Smuggling himself into the U.S, friendless and unable to speak English, Zhou's search reveals everything Li went through when she arrived in her "Promised Land." When they are tearfully reunited, he finds out Li is no longer quite the woman he married, and fate has a cruel blow in store for him.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]