First time director Kiwi Chow's directorial debut A Complicated Story is way complicated in many aspects. Created as a final year project for a Master's Degree program under Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, A Complicated Story was a joint effort among 9 students under the program. Together with the assistance from the industrial partners, A Complicated Story is one of the rare Hong Kong independent productions featuring artists that appeals to audience who are used to commercial productions.
Adapted from Hong Kong novelist Yi Shu's novel of the same title, the story begins with student Liu Yazi (Taiwanese theatrical actress Zhu Zhiying) taking up an project when she needs a large sum of money to pay for her brother's medical fees due to sudden illness. The project involves Yazi as a surrogate mother for former celebrity Tracy T (Cherie In) and her husband, Lawrence Yu (Jacky Cheung). The project was arranged by lawyer Kammy Au (Stephanie Che) in which Kammy oversees the progress. With everything taken care of, Yazi's job is to ensure that she will give birth to the child when she is due for birth. However, Kammy calls for a stop of the project when Lawrence files for a divorce with Tracy, in which the barren Tracy hopes that she can use the child as a reason to salvage the loveless marriage. Not wanting to abort the child, Yazi escapes from the mansion she is nursing in and stays in an apartment. When Lawrence appears to Yazi suddenly, claiming to be the father of the unborn child, Yazi avoided him at all costs as she wants to raise the child by herself. Things went beyond everybody's control when Yazi's ex-boyfriend, Zhen Ming (newcomer Zi Yi) is willing to be the child's father, Lawrence is supporting Yazi in every aspect and courting her at the same time, and Kammy is attracted to Yazi.
For audience who have read A Complicated Story, they will realize that the movie is a far cry from the novel. Chow explained that in terms of the essence of the novel and development of the character, they are following closely to the novel. However, one needs a great patience to understand the development of the characters while reading novels from Yi Shu. As such, A Complicated Story was divided into 3 chapters through the development of 3 major characters: Yazi (Chapter 1), Lawrence (Chapter 2) and Kammy (Chapter 3). The story develops together with the exploration on the characteristics of the individual leading characters. This makes the movie easier to digest, together with building up a better understanding of the characters from print to screen.
Yazi and Lawrence are 2 different characters from 2 different worlds. Orphaned since young with her brother as the next-of-kin, Yazi works hard to achieve her goals, displaying strong independence of a modern woman. Zhu Zhiying's portrayal of Yazi is a mirror reflection in the modern society, which she has bring life to the leading female character in every Yi Shu's novel. Jacky Cheung's portrayal of Lawrence is one thing that stays faithful to the novel. Lawrence is a mature and responsible man with a successful career, which is every single woman's dream man. However, this has become a barrier for Lawrence when he is courting Yazi, hoping that he can compensate Yazi's loss and the effort she puts in. Such scenario display's the essence created by Yi Shu, where women are gaining independence without depending on any man for survival.
With the support from some veteran actors and actresses, one will get to see Deanie Ip, Lo Hoi Pang, Elaine Jin and John Shum making special appearances. Lo plays Dr Yun, the gynecologist taking care of Yazi, is the only supporting role which appears in the novel. Ip plays Gypsy, which the role is a combination of Yazi's best friend and Lawrence's elder sister in the novel. The combination of the role also makes it easier for audience to digest the film without compromising the flow of the original story.
However, for serious fans of Yi Shu, it will be a disappointment that at least 80% of the story has been re-written in the movie adaptation. This has totally diverted from how the story was originally told. For instance, Kammy Au was never portrayed as a leading role in the novel, until she develops a crush on Yazi in the feature film. Somehow this is not the intention from Yi Shu on how the story should be reprise.
To sum up, A Complicated Story is delighting fans of Yi Shu, since it has been more than 25 years since Yi Shu's novel was adapted for a big screen release. While spiritually the movie follows the essence of the novel, fans and audience do wish that more could have been done to keep the story's originality.
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Needing money for her brother's medical treatment, Liu Yazi agrees to become a surrogate mother for a mysterious benefactor. But when the contract is suddenly terminated, she disappears in a whirlwind, taking the unborn child and leaving former acquaintances, spurned lovers and secret admirers seeking her desperately.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
May 30, 2022 at 12:54 PM