Metade Fumaca Review: Likeable, funny and finally quite touching

Pao Ge returns to Hong Kong after hiding out in Brazil to search for a girl he had a brief encounter with just to remember her face before his memory fades.

Likeable, funny and finally quite touching, Ip’s second feature is at heart an ‘odd couple’ movie. Roy (Tsang) returns to HK after living in Brazil for many years for a showdown with an old enemy. His rival for the affections of a beautiful girl. He enlists young street punk Smokey (Tse or Ta Dinh Phong) to help and winds up staying in his apartment. It turns out that Roy has Alzheimer’s and that his account of his ‘exile’ is a self-serving fantasy. But in the process of straightening matters out the film gives several characters small personal epiphanies and ends on a high note. (The title is Brazilian-Portuguese for ‘Half a Cigarette’, referring to a motif in Roy’s memories.

At once quirky and affecting, Metade Fumaca (Ban Chi Yen) fuses the existential musings of Wong Kar Wai with a flashy triad underworld more akin to the Young and Dangerous films. Directed with style and wit by Riley Yip, the film packs delicious punch. And features standout performances from Eric Tsang and Nicholas Tse. Who was nominated for Best Actor at the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. A promising feat for such a young, relatively untrained actor.

Cameos from Anthony Wong, Sandra Ng, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Terence Yin and Kelly Chen add to the familiar Hong Kong Cinema flavor. And the eclectic soundtrack and assured sense of style gives the film (phim hanh dong 2021) a cool. Pop culture-driven vibe which never ceases to entertain.

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