Love Birds (1992)

Directed by: Lam Yi-Hung
Written by: ?
Producers: Lam Yi Hung & Mok Wan-Ha
Starring: Dennis Tang, Eliza Yue, Lily Lee & Mok Wan-Ha

After losing his sight in a car accident, Tony (Dennis Tang - Yu Pui Tsuen II) has reverted into isolation and anger is growing every day. Into his life comes caretaker Elsa (Eliza Yue) and he opens up to her mentally and romantically. But Tony's mother have her eyes set on another pairing for Tony. A more financially stable one...

Also known as 'Love Nest', Lam Yi-Hung (The Other Side of Dolls) is a director during this Category III explosion and trend in Hong Kong that rarely gets acknowledged. Truth be told, quality across the board ranges from passable to even below average but he often came loaded with a visual ambition coupled with passable storytelling and even wildly comedic asides. There's a comfort factor by now knowing his name is on a movie. Maybe only for us fans of the softcore pornography that came with the III-rating? For Love Birds, passable is certainly the word of the day.

While low budget and with no original visual touches, Lam Yi-Hung really does stay true to the desire to infuse even the basic with elegance. True for Love Birds with its soft cinematography and stylish excursions within the erotica. This is far removed from point and shoot and get out of there-mentality hovering over many softcore movies of the time and there's an attempt here to setup, develop and pay off. Unfortunately more of an attempt than resonating emotionally, the 75 minute version at hand may be missing some development but there's little to no belief in Tang and Yue's strong connection here. She brings him out of the shell in a scene transition it looks like and while we are curious as to why and what that strength of connection is, it all boils down to very basic romantic drama tactics. Tactics that are on screen, even if not executed with poignancy like dialogue such as "You are taking my eyes away if you leave here" suggests.

But technically it's up there with Lam's better sequences out of said The Other Side of Dolls) with many elegant, slow motion moments and a sensual aura to the sex scenes. Dragging a main one out too long though as Lam emphasizes love (that we again feel rather neutral towards), Love Birds is to be admired for wanting to be a movie. And I'm not making excuses here but filmmakers like Lam Yi-Hung were rare in 1992 and for the Category III movie. Therefore highlighting the successful, technical nature of his celluloid triggers the comfort, the notion of worth it and even important.

 

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson