Papa Loves You - From Father-son Relationship to Social Issues

Social edification has been a common trait in Herman Yau films, and this year's Papa Loves You is a continuation of this tradition. Though overall speaking, it is not outstanding in story or dramatic development, this work of humour and satire manages to address social issues that deserve our concern. From a sample taste of campus violence and gangster world to a superficial look into the parent-child relationship in a single parent family, even satirical look into violence and heroism in comics through the social cultural perspective, Herman Yau tries to cram them all into this narration of a little over ninety minutes. Through confrontational relationships, he tries to explore the issues that have been plaguing our society all these years.

The film does not go deep into those issues and they are only given a cursory treatment. But through some funny scenes, the audience does see the absurdity behind them, especially the satirical treatment on comic violence. The violence is toned down by the right touch of comical and absurd ambience, and it further highlights the constraints and futile pomposity of the gangsters. Eric Tsang, who plays Lord Hung in the film, gives the verdict of the gang world with his line, "Many a broken dream on the dangerous Jianghu path."

Though the father-daughter love does not take up much screen time, Tony Leung and Charlene Choi give a good interpretation, with precise timing and rhythm. The development of their relationship is smooth and convincing, though Charlene Choi's performance cannot be considered a breakthrough here.

This is a work of sincerity and all the more to be cherished among the films of 2004, when social issues were given a short shrift by local cinema. I understand that local people nowadays prefer laughter, but it does them no good to ignore the existence of the issues. Hong Kong has already turned into an ostrich, it gets too tiring if this mentality extends to the cinema as well.

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