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七小福 (1988)
Painted Faces

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 05/30/2020
Summary: A trip down memory lane...

Master Yu Jim-Yuan (Sammo Hung) runs a Peking Opera School in Hong Kong. His teaching techniques are strict and punishment even more harsh. His students endor not only difficult times in the school, but on the outside as well as they try to cope with their feelings of being outcasts within the adolescent community. Eventually Master Yu sees that the times are changing and the interest has shifted to films and away from stage shows. He tries to prepare his top students for work after he has left Hong Kong.

Painted Faces is primarily a vehicle to show the childhood of Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. There are no pseudonyms here, everyone calls each other by their actual names. Jackie is introduced early in the film as a new student dropped off by his mother who struggles to fit in. Sammo is the Dai Si Hing (Big Brother) of the school, basically the main assistant to Master Yu who eventually takes Jackie under his wing once his true potential is recognized. Yuen Biao is more of a humorous character and the youngest of the group, barely over the age of six or seven as the movie opens. Everything in the film is solid, with strong acting from Sammo and a nice appearance from Cheng Pei-Pei as a fellow teacher who specializes in dance. Lam Ching-ying has an excellent supporting role as an old classmate of Sammo who struggles to integrate into the new world of kung fu movies. The settings in Hong Kong are also amazing, from the piers to moss-covered buildings and the cut-back streets that wind their way to Victoria Harbour. It’s a look back at what many consider the glory days of Hong Kong and which sadly may be lost forever going forward. Mostly though, the film shows the struggle of Master Yu and the cultural shift during the late 60s and early 70s away from traditional forms of entertainment and the rise of the film industry. A nostalgic and quality movie from Alex Law and Sammo.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/09/2000

This films basically tells the story of the childhoods of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao (except that according to them the film is entirely inaccurate. Oh well). They were all students (more or less indentured) at an opera school in Hong Kong. Because of declining interest in this amazing art form, the school eventually closes. Sammo Hung plays the school's teacher/principal/owner.

While this has plenty of cheesy moments, I was really moved by the story thread about the decline of opera in modern Hong Kong. It's terribly sad that such a great art would lose its audience (of course, the same thing is happening to Western classical music as well).

It was also really interesting to see Sammo in an entirely dramatic role. Besides his amazing grace and physical gifts, he is also a talented actor. He does a great job of making his character become gradually more likeable as we learn more about him.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

This is really interesting. This movie is a true story about howSamo Hung Kim Pao, Jackie (Big-Nose- his actual name when he grew up) Chan, Corey Yuen, Yuen Biao & their Sifu of the Peking Opera the grew up in Hong Kong. Samo Hung Kim Pao/Bo plays their sifu. Whom is a hard teacher and strives to be the best. In an interview with Corey Yuen he said they wouldn't have been able to tell the truth on how hard the training was because it would be too violent. Sammo won a Hong Kong film award as best actor. A deep touching story as you see their lives as young boys. GOOD!

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

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

Samo Hung is the strict, melancholy head of a Peking Opera school in a time when its popularity (and political favor) is on the wane. A surprisingly sedate and almost touching drama.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7