This movie goes through 12 significant nights (not consecutive nights) in a relationship between two characters. The movie offers some insight into the repetion involved in relationship cycles from interest through various tensions to eventual disinterest.
The fingerprints – or at least the inspiration – of producer Peter Chan, and the style he pioneered at production house United Filmmakers Organization are all over Twelve Nights, a charming modern relationer, showcasing babe du jour Cecilia Cheung, that plays like Scenes from an Affair, Hong Kong style.
Writer-director Aubrey Lam, whose previous scripts include Chan’s Who’s the Woman, Who’s the Man, debuts strongly with a distinctive, fluid style, within an emotional universe (wistful, playfully fatalistic) that’s pure UFO. Nights went head-to-head in Hong Kong this spring with another star-driven relationships movie, Andrew Lau’s US-set Sausalito, with Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai. Both ended up doing well ($2 million each) for non-actioners, though at heart they’re very different movies. Where the largely scriptless Sausalito just pointed the camera at its leads and let them do their own thing, Nights is a carefully written, very self-aware construct in which the whole technical package cleverly cushions its leading actress’s shortcomings. Divided into 12 sections, with a prologue that only makes sense at the very end, pic charts the ups and downs of a love affair between air hostess Jeannie and yuppie businessman Alan, who meet by chance when he takes her home by cab after she falls out with her boyfriend on her birthday. Individual segs span over a year, with each one dealing with a facet of male-female relationships (pride, dignity, caring vs. controlling, emotional need, etc.). There’s nothing very earth-shattering here, but Lam constructs a lively gallery of supporting players and draws a surprisingly good performance from Chan as the conflicted male.