Anna Magdalena
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Hai Chung-Man
Year:
1998
Run Time:
98mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
Removable Chinese (S+T), English
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Romance - IIA
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MOVIE
10/10

Writing a synopsis for this DVD proved very difficult - Not unlike many of Wong Kar-Wai's films, this poignant tale of unrequited love has many different layers to it, each one adding up to create a beautiful and moving experience, and trying to sum up the plot in a few lines would fail to do the film justice...
Suffice to say, Anna Magdalena's unusual cut-scenes and the clever use of "movements" to divide up the plot, along with the unique storybook fantasy section, provide an absorbing viewing experience.

Featuring cameo roles for Eric Tsang, Leslie Cheung, Jackie Cheung and Anita Yuen, Anna Magdalena boasts an very talented group of actors.
Takeshi Kaneshiro is excellent as Chan Kar-Fu, a lonely piano tuner whose empty life is filled with sunshine upon the arrival of Mok Man-Yee (Kelly Chen), a new tenant in the apartment block he resides in.
Aaron Kwok is perfect as Yau Mok-Yan, Kar-Fu's self-styled "love 'em and leave 'em" flatmate, whose confidence and bravado runs counter to Kar-Fu's quiet, gentle character.


Interestingly, the scenes I found the most affecting were often the simplest, relying on Kaneshiro's expressive face and eyes to convey the feelings he was unable to express verbally.

PICTURE
10/10

Easily one of the best looking Hong Kong DVD's to date, the clean, detailed, image and beautiful colour rendering show off Peter Pau's world-class cinematography skills to great effect. Also, with this being a 1998 production, the print contains very few scratches or marks, and remains artifact-free for the running time.

SOUND
8/10

Clear and distortion-free, this 5.1 re-mix, of the original Surround Sound master, adds an extra level of gloss to this already top quality disc.
As you'd expect with a film of this nature surround effects are kept to a minimum, with the rear speakers being used sparingly. However, the many pieces of classical music featured on the soundtrack are reproduced without a problem, as is the dialogue.

SUBTITLES
9/10

The odd grammatical error slips in now and again, and at one point during the film a very small portion of the dialogue is left unsubtitled, but overall these are clear and well-translated.
Thankfully, the song lyrics and Chinese text are also subtitled.

MENUS
6/10

For a film containing so many recognizable pieces of classical music, I was disappointed the menus were silent. However, they're easy to navigate and contain clear background images from the film.

EXTRAS
6/10

Comprising of the Theatrical trailer, Biography's for Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kelly Chen, Aaron Kwok, Hai Chung-Man and Claudia Chung, 8 animated chapter stops, and impressive looking previews for Young And Dangerous 5 and Stormriders, the extras are fairly standard for a Universe release.

PACKAGING
7/10

A clear, simple, front-cover picturing Kwok, Chen and Kaneshiro, and a fairly average plot synopsis on the back, make up the box art. A nice, if fairly basic, sleeve design.

CONCLUSION
10/10

Like a great piece of Classical music, Anna Magdalena has the ability to not only entertain on a superficial level, but to also touch upon a deeper emotional one, as its music and visuals combine to create a film which reveals more of itself with each subsequent viewing.
Being not only a superb film, but also an excellent disc, this Universe release deserves pride of place in your collection.

MOVIE 10/10
PICTURE
10/10
SOUND
8/10
SUBTITLES
9/10
EXTRAS
6/10
MENUS
6/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL 10/10