4.0, Hong Kong/China


2006 / Edmond Pang > Recoginized with the Silver Bear for Best Film Music at this year’s Berlinale, Pang Ho-Cheung’s story is of a pre-handover Macau cop and the discovery of the daughter he never knew he had. The cop, played by a suddenly mature Chapman To is often outshined by the daughter, played by Canto-pop start-turned serious actress Isabella Leung. Her performance is surprising, if only because she pins down the mercurial behavior of the daughter so well.
Unlike most films, Peter Kam’s score refuses to take a backseat to the actors, and often pads idyllic sequences so they end up having as much breadth as those with blatant meaning. The story turns conventional halfway through, but luckily changes back into something a little more special at the end. There is strength in how it culminates, and any sort of seesaw Pang went through in revealing plot details are ironed out. Of special note is the elegant beauty of the sets, taking advantage of the Portuguese-influenced architecture and a bounty of colors reminiscent of Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love. Isabella is a simple, wondrous pleasure.