Just 1 Day – London East Asian Film Festival – Competition – By Ben Lewis

Erica Li’s directorial debut is a stunning and endearing film, showing us around the magical allure of Hong Kong through Christopher Doyle’s colourful cinematography.

Based on a Novel by the Screenwriter/director Erica Li, Just 1 Day, gives a refreshing tour of Hong Kong as seen through the eyes of its main characters. Faith Li, daughter of the director, was present to introduce the film and told the audience how the film is a “lover letter to Hong Kong.”

Mosaic (Cho-Lam Wong) is an artist who has recently been diagnosed with ALS. When he bumps into his childhood crush, Angelfish (Charlene Choi), who he has not seen for 22 years, Mosaic finds that he still harbours nostalgic feelings for her and asks Angelfish out on a day-long date. Angelfish, who works at a bank and yearns to be in a relationship where she is loved, is currently having an affair with man who is already committed to a long-term girlfriend. When Angelfish accepts the date, Mosaic plans to make the day one that she will never forget. The activities on the day include visiting various places in Hong Kong such the school that they attended and watching a classic Hong Kong film that was released when they first met.

This is a film that definitely aims to tug at your heartstrings and succeeds, as it did with mine. Full of heart-warming and playful moments, this is those who enjoy romantic tearjerkers such as the American films Untamed Heart and A Walk to Remember. The pacing of the film allows the characters to become familiar and east to relate to, for the audience. Mosaic wears his heart on his sleeve and lacks confidence in himself due to his height. Angelfish is a hopeless romantic who is currently is in a dead-end relationship and really wants to be loved and to share watching a sunrise with someone who loves her, which she has never done before.

Charlene Choi is a delight to watch as she plays the kind-hearted and caring Angelfish. Although this film is not your average romantic comedy, her performance is very similar to the characters Sandra Bullock is known for playing. Meanwhile Cho-Lam Wong plays the often quirky and talented Mosaic. As we see their bond grow, we also hope that they do start a relationship together, but we also learn that this is no so straightforward for the characters to do. Erica Li’s directorial debut is a stunning and endearing film, showing us around the magical allure of Hong Kong through Christopher Doyle’s colourful cinematography. There are many beautiful, little nuggets in the film such the works of art by real-life, local artists. Just 1 Day is a great romantic drama that is both inspiring and life affirming.

5 / 5 stars     

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