Metade Fumaca (1999)
Reviewed by: lordmanji on 2000-12-07
Summary: A story on the beauty of memory
Metade Fumaca is a story on the beauty of passing moments in time captured as memories. Metade Fumaca has many similarities to Wong Kar Wai’s film, Fallen Angels, in that the characters attempt to capture specific, and brief happy memories in life.

The story follows Mountain Leopard back from his 30 year absence from Hong Kong. Upon Mountain Leopard returns, he meets a young street hustler by the name of Smokey,
told in a scene where Smokey chops a man’s hand because of a hooker, since “hookers are people, too.” Upon seeing this, Leopard sees Smokey’s good nature and enlists Smokey’s aid to kill Nine Dragons, his rival and the one who stole his girl. Smokey accepts and explains that he does not wish to be a nobody forever.

In Metade Fumaca, it is told with a twist, a however since Leopard is losing his memory, he attempts to see the beautiful women/memory before he forgets so that he can take it to his grave. Smokey also attempts to capture memories, in his videotaping of a police woman (Kelly Chen). And like Leopard, Smokey is obsessed with her even though only meeting her once, in the event of his arrest by her. A notable similarity between FA and MF occurs when Smokey is videotaping Leopard cooking, much like when Takeshi was videotaping his dad cooking.

Smokey and Mountain Leopard have much in common. Where Mountain Leopard can’t let go of the bar girl he met once, carrying around her picture everywhere and a half-burnt cigarette she smoked, Smokey has a father he fantasizes about, and a mom whom sits outside looking at strangers hoping to find Smokey’s dad. But the reason why Smokey accepts he explains is to get famous, and although it is not stated, Smokey looks up to Mountain Leopard as a father figure, and in one case brings Leopard to his mom to see if he is his dad.

Another notable scene in which the beauty of memory, and its subsequent brevity are conveyed in the Shooting Star scene. Leopard and Smokey finally have found Nine Dragons and followed him to an observatory. Rival triad members also gather, and a huge rumble seems inevitable. Just as tensions are about to burst, shooting stars light the sky and everyone, choppers and all, rush to the beach front to watch. In that inspiringly beautiful scene, the two gang leaders unknowingly share the view side by side; Smokey and Leopard forget about killing Nine Dragons; it is a brief moment in time where all past thoughts were forgotten, and only present thoughts of shooting stars, of that beauty emanating. And just as quickly as the stars fell, the moment it was over the rumble did ensue.

Metade Fumaca does not offer any resolution to Leopard and Smokey’s “relationships,” as Leopard only dances with his dream girl once (Hsu Chi) and Smokey meets Kelly Chen once as well. However I believe this is done on purpose, reemphasizing the theme that the beauty of memory is permanent through their unconsummated relationships. An interesting side note is that MF ends with Kelly Chen noticing the camera which tapes her everyday, and smiling. This, I think means to imply that although they may never have a real relationship, she knows her image is being captured and gives satisfaction to Smokey’s idolization of her; her image; and the beauty of memory.