Monday, 30 March 2020

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1996: Eric Tsang in Comrades: Almost a Love Story

Eric Tsang did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Pao Au-Yeung in Comrades: Almost a Love Story.

Comrades: Almost a Love Story is a sweet, if a touch overlong, film about two mainlanders in Hong Kong, who can't quite seem to come together.

Eric Tsang plays one of the potential obstacles between the love story that seems always on some sort of on the brink between  Qiao Li (Maggie Cheung) and XiaoJun (Leon Lai). This as Tsang portrays a mob boss costumer of Qiao's, at a message parlor. Eric Tsang would later play notably a mob boss in Infernal Affairs, however Pao Au-Yeung here is a far cry from that more dramatic criminal he would later play. This as we really come in at first to the man, mostly head down, just receiving his massage and attempting to flirt with Qiao. Tsang delivers a bit of the expected "brunt" to the role when he demands force be used to handle some issue relayed by his men, but even this is just a perfunctory statement. We we get more passion is as he speaks to Qiao of his new tattoo adorning his back, along with his more expected tattoos, that of Mickey Mouse, her favorite character. It is then we see that Pao isn't your standard mob boss as we see the two begin an actual romance. Though this first seems likely to be short lived as Pao essentially tries to allow her to leave by speaking of all the wives he has in other countries, Tsang handling this moment as one of false bravado. This not as a boast, but as a man attempting to not only soften his own wound, but to most earnestly make Qiao feel better about herself. This in his face though a real sorrow of the loss, that Tsang strictly conveys the genuine sense of love in the moment. This showing the real heartbreak in the man in the moment, before Qiao decides to marry him. Although the scenes following this are brief, however Tsang uses them well. This in providing a real warmth in the interactions and a purity of the man's manner, as though this is Pao as his truest self. This in portraying just a to the point sweet man, who loves his wife, and wants to just live a good life with her. Tsang naturally delivers a potent affection this as he makes it natural from that of the former gangster, to just a caring husband in every sense. This making it so when he makes his untimely exit it is something that is felt, and not just an obstacle to get gotten over for the sake of the leads finally getting together. This in Tsang successfully creating a sympathetic portrait of both the typical "other guy" of the narrative and of a gangster. It's a relatively short performance but Tsang delivers still a memorable impression within that screentime.


Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings & thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar & Calvin: I have to ask, are there any other HK performances that could get a five because we've only had Leung in Infernal Affairs thus far.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: After 43, please do 78 after.

Jack Narrator said...

In 2020 the next years that I wish to be re-analyzed are: 1936, 1942, 1958, 1966, 1976, 1989, 1998, 2002 and 2016.

Please Louis

Jack Narrator said...

My final bets:
1. Stormare
2. Harris
3. Belafonte
4. Heston
5. Tsang

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Deanie Ip in A Simple Life.

Anonymous said...

Luke, in your opinion, who is the greatest wrestler of all-time?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Ric Flair

Anonymous said...

Luke, your thoughts on him as well

Louis Morgan said...


Cheung - 4(She's quite good and wonderful in the role. This in that she manages to convey the intense drive of the character but never becomes caustic in this. She balances it well with an earnest charm within it even if she almost hides it within it. That is also in just doing well to portray nuance in it at all times. This creating the very human qualities within that intention but also in her two majors relationships in the film. She strikes an effective chemistry with each, though differently. One where you see the romantic spark, even though she is distant in other ways, then the other you see a greater sense of closeness though less of that romantic spark.)

Lai - 3.5(I suppose his obstacle is that much less sympathetic therefore one cares less about it. Having said that though Lai gives a fine performance particularly early on where he delivers a cheery naivety that is rather winning to the role. The more assured he becomes the less interesting honestly, however to his credit he handles this transition well, though he does feel overshadowed by Tsang and Cheung in the second half in terms of the lasting effect of the work.)