Summer Breeze of Love unwinds like the dying hours of a hot summer’s night. It’s not always comfortable, but there’s something strangely comforting about it. Maybe it’s the movie’s unhurried pace or its meandering plot. Perhaps it’s the orange-gold palette that casts a nostalgic glow over the whole picture. Quite possibly it’s the dewy presence of the Twins’ Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung.
Against my better judgment, I found myself falling for this film, which never aspires to be more than a wistful portrait of teenage love. And while there are faults aplenty, the movie pretty much achieves its goal. Two friends spend the summer looking for romance and learn a little something about life and love along the way. The absence of a driving storyline allows the pair of ingenues to stumble awkwardly towards love, or adulthood.
One of the girls, Kiki (Charlene Choi), develops a crush on basketball player and resident stud Ah Fung (Tsui Tin-Yau), who is never far from his entourage of admirers. She finds herself in an enviable position when he starts paying special attention to her. Could it be love? Is that why he wants to borrow her mobile? And shower at her flat? Her friend’s brother Chung Lok-Hoi (Roy Chow) doesn’t think so, but being an inarticulate video game addict and little else, he’s not in a great position to compete for her affections.
Hoi’s sister, Kammy (Gillian Chung), however, has no difficulties professing her love for the much older Danny (Dave Wong), a divorced man who has not yet figured how to squirm his way out from under his mother’s thumb. Rather than taking her up on the relationship, and thus turning this movie into a different one entirely, he hems and haws. On the one hand, Danny sees Kammy as a way of (very) belated rebellion and a chance to finally get a life; on the other, he recognizes what everyone else already knows – it’s a kinda creepy for him to be seen with a teenage bra shop assistant.
The filmmakers ask a little too much from the audience here, and pairing Chung and Wong (ostensibly due to some EEG arrangement) is too far-fetched for their story to take root. Kammy’s declarations lack the substance to make her pursuit a tender if ill-begotten infatuation, and Danny ends up being the more interesting character.
Thankfully, Kiki’s romance hews closer to that of reality. When Choi refrains from gleeful, slapdash mugging, she’s a wonderfully open actress and expressive in ways that haven’t been roughened by experience and cynicism. Her performance recalls a similarly refreshing one in My Wife is 18, and Summer Breeze has wisps of another Twins effort also released the same year, Just One Look. The latter film holds up best, this one still pleases with simplicity and sweetness.
“Red Eyes” (眼紅紅) by Twins:
Prod: Ivy Kong 江玉儀; Leung Bo-Tung 梁寶桐
Dir: Joe Ma 馬偉豪
Writer: Joe Ma 馬偉豪; Sunny Chan 陳詠燊; Ivy Kong 江玉儀
Cast: Charlene Choi 蔡卓妍; Gillian Chung 鍾欣桐; Dave Wong 王傑; Roy Chow 周永恆; Tsui Tin-Yau 徐天佑; Wong Yau-Nam 黃又南; Hui Siu-Hung 許紹雄; Monica Lo 盧淑儀; Andrea Choi 蔡安蕎; Matt Chow 鄒凱光; Lee Fung 李楓
Time: 107 min
Country: Hong Kong