Issue #209           HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES                April 26th, 2004

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Esprit D'Amour
(1983; Cinema City & Films Co.)

Cantonese: Yam yeung cho
Mandarin: Yin yang cuo
English: Dark and Light Are Wrong for Each Other


RATING: 6/10


Early on in the shooting of this romantic comedy/ghost fantasy, producer Karl Maka, unhappy with the rushes, removed the film's director. He gave the assignment of finishing the picture to Ringo Lam Ling-tung and the young filmmaker went on to earn his first directorial credit. Insurance agent Koo Chi-ming (Alan Tam Wing-lun) is not sure about his girlfriend, Ivy (Cecilia Yip Tung), who is a domineering, bitchy shrew. Little does Chi-ming know it but he will soon have a second woman in his life: Chang Siu-yiu (Joyce Ngai Suk-kwan). Assigned to investigate a claim involving a girl who jumped from a building, Chi-ming discovers that the victim's name is identical to the one that came up when he and his friends were playing with a Ouija board the night before. Siu-yiu died when she accidentally slipped and fell to her death and, when Chi-ming's boss (Phillip Chan Yan-kin) insists that the case be classified as a suicide, she makes a fool out of him on live television. Love blossoms between Chi-ming and the pretty spirit but, as is the rule in these films, their relationship is doomed: Ivy and his family have hired a Taoist priest (Tien Feng) to disperse Siu-yiu's spirit.

Alan Tam Joyce Ngai Cecilia Yip

Fairly run-of-the-mill as this genre goes, ESPRIT D'AMOUR possesses a modicum of charm and, while it bears no resemblance to the kind of work he would become known for, Lam directs the proceedings with confidence and style. Of particular interest is the climax, which juxtaposes shots from the exorcism with a macabre, modern dance performance, creating some effectively eerie imagery. The supernatural action that follows is quite exciting. Cecilia Yip is billed here as "Cecilia Chan," an English name she ended up not adopting. Bill Tung Biu and Tang Pik-wan co-star as Chi-ming's parents, and Billy Lau Nam-kwong also appears.


Light speckling is evident and blacks are occasionally on the light side but the color and detail levels are good and the overall presentation is quite satisfying. Both the Cantonese and Mandarin tracks are mildly distorted on the low end but get the job done and are about on par with HK mixes of the time. The theatrical trailer is included.

Bill Tung (center), Tang Pik-wan (right) Phillip Chan Tien Feng

This DVD is available at:

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC -- Region 0
  • Deltamac #DVD78155
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese
  • 6 Chapters
  • 4:3 Letterbox (1.90:1)
  • 89 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Australia: M 15+
  • Great Britain: 15
  • Hong Kong: II
  • Ontario: PG
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore: PG
  • Contains mild violence and horror, and brief nudity


  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful