天涯海角
Lost and Found (1996)


Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 07/31/2010

"Lost and Found" is an almost perfectly cast, very well paced romantic drama with a self-consciously but still very effective twist ending that will break even the hardest of hearts and plenty of handkerchief wringing scenes along the way. There is an obvious and outrageous false note in the last sixty seconds of the movie but by then we are so in its thrall that it is easy to ignore.

There is much more to making a movie than assembling a great cast, though. A case in point is "Lavender" which also starred Kelly Chan and Kaneshiro Takeshi and included an exotic foreign location. "Lavender" was an unwatchable mess. The difference lies in the script. Even though it followed the well worn path of the beautiful but doomed heroine being brave, noble and beautiful--growing more radiant as the disease progressed--"Lost and Found" was perfectly pitched for its actors and allowed them the inhabit or impersonate their characters quite well.

Lam is the character that Kelly Chan was born to play. Her close to blank affect and dramatic estrangement from the rest of the cast are exactly what is called for here. Lam is the daughter of a very demanding father who, we discover early in the film, thinks very little of her abilities or potential. This withdrawal of parental love has made Lam into an emotionless husk, to the extent that she announces that she has cancer at a job interview that her father, who owns a shipping company, has arranged for her with the board. He is present when she says, after going through her academic qualifications, that her medical report will show that she has cancer with a 30% chance of recovery which won't keep her from carrying out the job.

Her illness also isolates Lam from the rest of the characters--she is a subject of the Kingdom of Cancer a place where one's residence permit remains valid only if she can deal with the right kind of poison being dripped into the right vein. Remaining on the emotional surface of a character--which is Chan's automatic and perhaps only way of interpreting the script is exactly what is called for here.

Kaneshiro Takeshi is all dewy-eyed hyperactivity as That Worm, the Found part of Mr. Lost and Found. As gorgeous a male as Kelly Chan is a female, he is demanding, nosy and unable to say no to the saddest of sad cases. Those sad cases abound at his business. While the day to day operations seem to be finding misplaced mobile phones, keys and wallets there are other clients that require time and attention. One is Mr. Chu a father with either three children who works nights selling congee in order to finance the search for his wife who has left husband and family. That Worm tells him to save his money for his family but he insists on continuing the quest. Another is a little girl who brings her piggy bank to the office, seeking their services to find a duck with a red bill. If this very rare duck can be found (That Worm calls it is duck with a flat bill) then somehow money will be had for an operation for her mother who will die without it. Ting Ting, the little girl, helps her father who tries to grow perfect roses to the floral trade, his attempt obtain funding for the operation. The ducks are found--a flock of them--and the more than perfect roses bloom overnight. In both cases, one a missing wife and mother, one a gravely ill wife and mother, the viewers expectations are thwarted, a bravura piece of filmmaking by director/writer/producer Lee Chi-Ngai.

Michael Wong , as Ted, does most of his role in English, a not untypical work around for his lack of language skills. Shockingly enough, though, he also gets costumed in a kilt complete with full fly plaid, knee socks, dirk and sporan with crest. Just to make things completely absurd he is also an accomplished bagpiper, standing on a rock overlooking the sea and playing "Scotland the Brave" while a young girl in her faux-Scots outfit dances and collects tips from the tourists. It reminds one more of an organ grinder and monkey than anything having to do with the Highlands. Ted is in Scotland to bury his grandfather and to take over his apparently flourishing hotel. Even though Lam has been searching for him and flies to Scotland to be with him it is clear that there will no nuptial announcement for Kelly Chan and Michael Wong. He is a bit of a lump, a grinning idiot who is happy on the filthy deck of a ship in dry-dock, the soft fog of the Hebrides or anywhere in between.

Josie Ho and Joyce Wang are the wisecracking friends who insist that Lam start on her music career and even get married when a long time suitor asks since what the heck, you will be dead soon enough. Old pro Joe Ma and young Lee Yuen-Wu--this is her sole credit--are appropriately heartbreaking as the father and daughter who want a miracle to cure Lee's mother.

"Lost and Found" is an unashamed tearjerker and it accomplishes what Lee Chi-Ngai set out to do. It is sentimental, mawkish, wears its heart on its sleeve and demands that we take an active interest in the large and small tragedies of a disparate group of people. It isn't tragic in the classical sense; Aristotle wouldn't recognize it. But while missing all the other elements of tragedy "Lost and Found" most definitely has one essential feature. It is full of incidents that arouse "pity and fear", allowing the audience a cathartic emotional release.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 06/16/2007

If you can get past Michael Wong Man-tak's wooden and uncharismatic performance "Lost and Found" is an otherwise affecting film beautifully captured by Bill Wong's lenses and spearheaded by Takeshi Kaneshiro's poignant portrayal of Mr. Lost and Found.

In Wong's defense, if there ever was such a thing, his character -- like the man himself -- is half-Chinese and only speaks conversational Cantonese. That being said Wong shows little range in his native tongue of English.

Following the actor on screen is a constant chore that began when the industry replaced overdubbing with live audio forcing Wong to deliver his lines partially in English even when his peers are speaking fluent Cantonese. His character Ted, a mixed sailor of Scottish and Chinese backgrounds is somewhat saved by a female admirer (Kelly Chan Wai-lam) who reminds both the characters as well as the audience that Ted only speaks "a little Chinese."

Chan portrays Lam the daughter of a shipping tycoon whose recently been diagnosed with leukemia. She becomes infatuated with Ted at the shipyard but after three days looses contact with him before bumping into a Mongolian named That Worm (Kaneshiro) aka "Mr. Lost and Found" a grassroots private investigator who finds whatever his clients may be looking for.

Lee Chi-ngai, who wrote, produced, and directed "Lost and Found" uses the girl-dying-of-cancer motif ineffectively and the parallels often do not add up to what they should, but Takeshi Kaneshiro and Kelly Chan's performances legitimatize the tears welling up in your eyelids rather than going for broke and attempting to extract them by force.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 02/28/2007
Summary: a powerful display

This movie is a powerful display of filmmaking skills by writer, producer, and director Lee Chi-Ngai. Lost and Found is a compelling work that takes the viewer on an esoteric, emotional journey through themes of illness and loss, love and living in a world that is as cruel and harsh as it is wonderful and joyful. The writing is superb; the screenplay is rich and textured. Executive producer Claudie Chung Chun shows his genius here, working to provide Mr. Lee everything he would need to get his vision up on the screen.

The cast of supporting actors in Lost and Found goes a long way in making the three lead actors look good. Look for the beautiful and talented Josie Ho Chiu-Yee as Kelly Chan Wai-Lam's friend and the always interesting Henry Fong Ping as Kelly's shipping magnate father. Cheung Tat-Ming and Jordan Chan Siu-Chun keep it interesting, playing quirky characters in Kaneshiro Takeshi's quirky character's world.

Copyright 2007 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: bkasten
Date: 12/13/2005

In terms of story, execution and viewer immersion, Lost and Found is superlative. It is among the reviewer's personal favorite films...and in may ways this is quite surprising as it seems tailor made for Takeshi Kaneshiro, Michael Wong and Kelly Chan...two of whom are barely considered serious actors...yet here their performances--coincidental or not their respective qualities may be--seemed entirely worthy of HKFA's ...despite not having received any. (The film did receive one HKFA award for Best Song, as well as a nomination for Best Screenplay.)

Kaneshiro is a great actor. So he is a given. We all know that.

Kelly, while beautiful beyond all description, is simply a terrible actress. We all know that too. But in this role, her expressions and icy beauty are 100% perfect, and deeply touching.

Michael Wong is also particularly suited for this role...and Michael Wong is...well...Michael Wong: at times almost a parody of an HK actor...but he has real presence in this film...and indeed one can see why he continues to get movie roles. In the right role, extremely limited that range may be, he is indeed capable, and has aptly demonstrated this elsewhere.

So, sure: it's all about "a love triangle between a woman and two men, with the woman in the last year of her life due to terminal cancer," its also deeply touching melancholia that comes through clearly, and is so tastefully carried out--particularly the climax and denounment--one just doesn't want it to end. Yet it has to end. And I remember saying to myself: "wow, what an experience."

A fully potentiated cinematic expression.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Buckeyez
Date: 01/22/2003
Summary: Excellent

What great chemistry between Kelly Chen, Kaneshiro Takeshi and Michael Wong. This film took me by surprised because I hadn't expected a moving storyline and such a clever one at that. On top of that all the beautiful and majestic coastal cinematography was a delight.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/19/2003
Summary: Not bad

One of the better romance films in HK during the 90's actually. It's nothing original exactly, but the whole atmosphere works well.

3/5


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 10/17/2001
Summary: ok'ish

With great expectations because people says it good, i was left disappointed!!

Ok the cast and their acting is good, the storyline is good, the atmosphere it creates is good, but why didn't i like it as much as others?

I think i was expecting to move me a lot more than it did. And i guess because of high expectations, i had a idea it would be as good as "needing you" or "moonlight express" but to me, it doesn't stand up to those movies!!

6/10


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: Really moving

Quirky romance probably isn't a genre most people associate with Hong Kong, but LOST AND FOUND is a film that shows that Hong Kong film makers can be just as playful and inventive when there's no kung fu in sight. The story is at times poignant, at other times sweet, and in the end really quite moving.


Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a man who runs a business called Lost and Found, which specializes in searching for lost things
and people. In the subtitles, his name is shown as That Worm, though that seems like a fairly odd name, cultural barriers
notwithstanding. Near the beginning of the film, he runs into Kelly Chan. During their first conversation, she says that she
has lost something. What she says she has lost is hope. We soon find out that she has leukemia and that the hope she
seeks seems to be Michael Wong, a sailor who works for her father's shipping company.

Although this opening is clever, it could also be the setup for a grotesquely sappy melodrama and I was happily surprised
that this was not the case. This film deals very seriously with a number of weighty issues, including love, parent-child
relationships, death, and of course, hope. While this is territory that has been mined in countless Hollywood tear-jerkers,
Lost and Found manages to skirt the pitfalls awaiting it, thanks to an excellently written script and the fabulous
performances of Takeshi Kaneshiro and Kelly Chan. While there are certainly plenty of emotional moments (happy and sad),
none of them feel manipulative or forced, as is so often the case when watching other movies that deal with these sorts of
issues.

This was the first film in which I have seen Kelly Chan. One review of this film I read called her a flower vase, which couldn't
be farther from the truth. It is true that she does not show a lot of emotion and seems to maintain somewhat of a stone face
throughout the film. This is not a fault. Her character is always striving to remain in control of herself, believing that she has
only herself to rely upon. Kelly Chan does a great job of portraying this while letting the audience in onto what is going on
in her head through both subtle visual clues and an overt monologue.

Takeshi was, as usual, excellent. This is one of his best roles outside of Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. The
supporting cast was excellent as well, though none of them had major roles. The only problems in the film came from
Michael Wong. Simply put, he is not a good actor and he has about two different facial expressions. Fortunately, his role was
simple enough that these two expressions carried him through most of his scenes. I simply can't understand how he gets
movie roles, and I particularly don't understand how he got a role in a film as good as this one. There have got to be other
half-Chinese actors available somewhere who Hong Kong film studios could recruit.

Also notable was the fact that this film had what I consider the bane of many movies (Hong Kong films in particular), the
"music video" within a film. However, for once, it worked. This scene, instead of being excrutiating and embarassing as these
scenes usually are, illustrates a key plot point in a funny and touching manner. It did leave me wondering why two pop
stars (Kelly & Takeshi) couldn't do a better job of lip synching though. Probably this can be at least partially blamed on the
Hong Kong film industry's inability to accurately sync soundtracks in general.

Directorially, Lost and Found is not flashy. This is not a bad thing. Rather, it is just the case that this film is about the art of
narrative and story-telling, rather than purely visual art.

Lost and Found has a fantastic ending. A good ending for a film is very important to me crucial as the ending is the final
impression that the film gives you. If the ending fails, then it could be said that the time and emotional energy that the
viewer invests in the film is squandered. This film had one of the best endings I've seen, wrapping up an already beautiful
story perfectly.

Lost and Found ranks very high in my list of favorite Hong Kong films, and high on my list of films in general. It is a
beautiful story.


Reviewed by: jun-yan
Date: 02/15/2000

At the beginning and the end of this movie, there is a short documentary piece in which the camera wanders in the streets of Hong Kong and picks up the images of poor, old, and ordinary people. More than illustrating the theme of this movie about loss, misery, and pain in life, it reveals the inspiration of many many Hong Kong movies. Hong Kong is not a beautiful city -- hot, small, crowded, dirty, noisy, messy. It is a place where the rich and the poor, the beautiful and the ugly, the priviliged and the unfortunate rub shoulders. Local talents continue to find endless inspiration in their beloved city. It's either shiny and pretty ("City of Glass"), rough and dangerous ("Full Alert"), or busy and lively ("Beast Cops").
Although "Lost and Found" is a small, sentimental, romantic movie with a somewhat familiar story line, its most appealing quality is the philosophical look at life, death, and the lower class people of Hong Kong. We follow the heroine of the story, a young woman Lam (Kelly Chen) with leukemia, on her journey of searching for reconciliation with her unfair destiny. She insists on working for her rich father who owns commercial ships, and becomes attracted to a half-Scottish sailor Tak (Michael Wong). When he disappears, she hires a young man at a lost-and-found agency Joh Hau Chung (Takeshi Kenashiro), who claims to be able to find anyone and anything, to find the sailor, for in her mind, the sailor and his story about a dying Scottish village at "the edge of the world" (the Chinese title) are a symbol of hope in her hopeless life.

The story then follows Ah Chung and Lam in their journey to examine the heavy issues of life and death through small misery, small suffering, small joy and small miracles they encounter. All these episodes are handled with extraordinary tenderness, freshness, subtlety, realism, and zen. They are the best parts of the movie. For example, a desperate husband (played in a couple of scenes with incredible realism by Jordan Chan) looking for his wife who deserted him and the kids is lied to by Ah Chung to keep his hope alive. A child wishes for a rose garden for her terminally ill mother. Lam and Ah Ching try to pull a miracle to make the garden bloom. The movie is full of wonderful touches that makes the point without being too preachy or artificial. Ah Chung's assistant is a disabled poor neighbor (CHeung Tat-Ming). His secretary is a disfigured girl who cannot walk. Her mother (Maria Cordello), who we first see constantly scolding her, turns out to be a loving mother that carries her to work every day.

Although the overall tone is more melancholy than the Derek Yee movie "C'est la vie, Mon cherie" of similar topic and similar passion of the local setting, "Lost and Found" is full of humors and bitter-sweet moments that bring smile and tears simultaneously to the viewer's face. The stubbornly realistic and understated style of the director Lee Chi-Ngai (who also wrote and directed the similarly bitter-sweet-funny "Dr. Mack") works very effectively thanks to the down-to-the-earth performances from the supporting cast. The delicate balance between philosophical reflection and unpredictable reality, hope and despair, realism and romanticism, is very well handled through most of the film.

The last part of the movie takes Lam to the lofty highland of Scotland, and somehow connects the two places (HK and Scotland) that couldn't be less alike. A surprising decision that works quite well in making the theme universal.

Takeshi Kenashiro gave an excellent and refreshing performance as Ah Chung (meaning "worm"). Michael Wong is competent, although a little forgettable, as the Scottish sailor without a Scottish accent. Unfortunately, Kelly Chen's good look cannot save her from poor acting. Her voice-over is effectively understated, but the performance is too wooden to build her character. The writing is also at its weakest in making her character convincing and likable. It is not enough to persuade the audience to like her just because she has leukemia. The whole terminal disease ploy is a bit too traditional and melodramatic that it doesn't work very well with the subtlety and realism of the rest of the story.

Finally, I was disappointed by the ending of "Lost and Found." An open ending would work much better to complete the discussion about hope and fate. Like one of Ah Ching's lines: "I only have 10 to 20% chance of finding something, but if you don't go out and look for it, then you have no chance at all."

In the end, the true theme of this movie is its love for Hong Kong, its people, and their spirits.


Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

The big problem with this movie is that two of the three main actors can't act, especially Kelly Chan who once agian wonders through most of the movie with a blank stare on her face. She is the very definition of "flower vase". A good (albeit contrived) script and another great job by Takeshi Kaneshiro save the movie.


Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 12/09/1999

I completely enjoyed watching this beautiful, sad, rich and deeply satisfying movie: it may turn out to be the finest of 1996. It is a revisiting, perhaps, of the Derek Yee hit "C'EST LA VIE MON CHERI" (Xin bu liao qing, 1994). But quite a departure from that movie, too, without its sentimentality and melodrama. The basic premise is the same: a beautiful woman (Kelly Chan) has leukemia, but learns how to live and with whom to fall in love, (Takeshi Kaneshiro, or Michael Wong). This sounds excessively sad, but L&F isn't. It has a graceful, lively, kind of witty tone that supports the story, about loss and death, without undue melancholy. Some wonderful things in it: the screenplay, also by Lee Chi-Ngai, which is smart, precise, fresh, and has a "written", thoughtful feel to it, for a popular HK movie: one could almost believe that it had been composed in its entirely, and then polished, ahead of time, before the actual shooting (not typical HK practice). Fine, graceful cinematography, by transplanted-Torontonian Bill Wong, who does HK arthouse films. A striking score, featuring Leonard Cohen's "Dance me to the end of love", a beautiful Celtic folk tune, and a couple of Kelly Chan Wai-Lum current Cantopop hits (believe me, they all work together, improbable as that might sound!). And speaking of Kelly Chan: the cast is very fine. She has a striking screen presence, and can really act. Her narration (in a Wong Kar-Wai derived style that everyone, even Tsui Hark, seems to have picked up recently) was particularly moving. Takeshi Kaneshiro gives another sensational performance, extending the work he has done in CHUNGKING EXPRESS and FALLEN ANGELS. And Michael Wong manages to create a sweet, rather soft-spoken and gentle Scottish sailor whom Kelly falls for at the beginning of the film. Among the many fine secondary roles (a Lee Chi-Ngai specialty), Cheung Tat-Ming is a stand out as Takeshi Kaneshiro's disabled and philosophical assistant.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: pablo
Date: 12/09/1999

Private detective Worm (Takeshi) is hired by Kelly to help her findhope. Through flashback, we find out what she means. Not quite as strong as Lee Chi Ngai's other UFO efforts, but still very enjoyable. The well constructed narrative makes generous use of voiceovers to move the story along, making the audience feel like it's being let in on a secret, and adds in just a touch of whimsey to the life affirming tale. Takeshi puts in a great performance as always, and Michael does a pretty good job. I'm still not sure how to rate Kelly's acting. She maintains a near poker face throughout the film, which works well with the voiceovers, but it could have just been wooden acting.


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

The Worm (Takeshi Kaneshiro) works in a shabby little office manned by a few human leftovers who, like him, are dedicated to finding lost family members, misplaced loves, and even stolen wallets and purses; lovely young Kam (Kelly Chan) suffers from fainting spells (caused by leukemia, which she keeps secret), and seems to have developed a rather casual attitude toward her treatment (dumping her medication in the same garbage cans The Worm sifts through). She contacts him to encounter the Chinese-Scottish sailor she'd once fallen in love with (Michael Wong), a search that initially looks like it's going to take a miracle to work. But The Worm works minor miracles on a regular basis (like luring red-billed ducks over a languishing rose garden, in the hope of making a sick old woman well), and he even lip-synchs to a few catchy Canto-pop tunes while hanging around a rock band. Kelly Chan's monologues sound suspiciously similar to the ones in Chungking Express; in fact, this whole movie has the same melancholy tone (except here, the sentimentality is more calculated, and the songs not quite as good). Movies with cute girls who slowly die are cause for suspicion; if you scrape under the stylistic tricks, there's a sweet love story that could have been much better if it had reached farther. Somebody's going to have to compile a list of 1996-7 movies in which women get brain tumors to move the plot along.

(2.5/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6