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Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Wai Ka Fai (Director) | Kelly Lin (Actor) | Mia Yim (Actor)
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Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Helmed by Johnnie To's frequent writer and co-director Wai Ka Fai, fantasy drama Written By layers on different levels of fiction and reality by telling a story within a story within a story. Undoubtedly one of the most unique and worthwhile films of the year, Written By's clever narrative device unfolds a family's attempts to cope with loss by writing their own alternate realities. Award-winning actor Lau Ching Wan delivers a magnificently understated performance as a blind man desperate to hold on to his family, while Milkyway regular Kelly Lin (The Sparrow) plays his wife and Mia Yam (It's a Wonderful Life), his daughter whose writing writes the movie. Whimsical art direction and imaginative flights of fancy keep the meta film light on its feet as it sensitively explores themes of life, death, and loss through an emotionally gripping adventure of the mind.

Melody (Mia Yam) lost her eyesight at a young age in a terrible car accident that also claimed the life of her father (Lau Ching Wan). Ten years later, Melody, her brother Oscar (Chung Ying Kit), and her grieving mother Mandy (Kelly Lin) still haven't let go of the past. To help her mother find closure, Melody begins to write a book in which the reality is reversed. In her story, her grieving father Tony is alive and blind while the rest of the family is dead, and he too begins to write a book in which his reality is reversed. Young Melody has become an afterlife messenger, and she brings Mandy and Oscar back to the world of the living to visit Tony. Her attempts to rewrite life and death, however, cause people, places, and times to cross over, and the overlapping stories begin to merge as the line between reality and fantasy blurs.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) 再生號 (VCD) (香港版) 再生号 (VCD) (香港版) 再生號 (香港版) Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: 思念 思念
Artist Name(s): Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Kelly Lin (Actor) | Mia Yim (Actor) | Jo Koo | Wong Man Wai (Actor) | Au Kin Yee 劉 青雲 (Actor) | 林熙蕾 (Actor) | 閻清 (Actor) | 谷祖琳 | 黃文慧 (Actor) | 歐健兒 刘 青云 (Actor) | 林熙蕾 (Actor) | 阎清 (Actor) | 谷祖琳 | 黄文慧 (Actor) | 欧健儿 劉青雲(ラウ・チンワン) (Actor) | 林熙蕾(ケリー・リン) (Actor) | 閻清 (ミア・ヤン) (Actor) | 谷祖琳 (ジョー・コク) | Wong Man Wai (Actor) | Au Kin Yee Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Kelly Lin (Actor) | Mia Yim (Actor) | Jo Koo | Wong Man Wai (Actor) | Au Kin Yee
Director: Wai Ka Fai 韋家輝 韦家辉 韋家輝 (ワイ・カーファイ) Wai Ka Fai
Release Date: 2009-09-10
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: IIB
Duration: 85 (mins)
Publisher: Mei Ah (HK)
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1021090011

Product Information

Director : Wai Ka Fai

Where would people go after they die? What is ghost? Does it really exist? Humans feel unfamiliar to, yet fascinated by the after-life…
Twelve-year old Melody has lost her father Tony (Lau Ching-wan) in a car accident 10 years ago, she has since lived her life with her mother Mandy (Kelly Lin) and five-year old brother Oscar. A decade has past, a grown-up Melody (Mia Yan) tries to release her mother who has been living in pain of longing for her deceased husband since. Melody decides to write a novel with her mother and brother as a therapy, and to let her father to be “resurrected” in the fictional world and be “reunited” with him.

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This film has received 3 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

August 19, 2009

This professional review refers to Written By (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
A message about living wrapped in numerous self-referential layers, Written By is about dealing with pain by writing a story about writing a story about writing a story. Got that? Wai Ka-Fai's bittersweet fantasy-drama features characters who cope with grief by writing an alternate reality, and the film becomes so steeped in its own layers of character-created fiction that it simply begs discussion. Stepping back a bit, screenwriters in the real world actually did write Written By's story, so one has to ask: were co-writers Wai and Au Kin-Yee exorcising some personal demons when they wrote their story about writing a story? Is this a metafilm about the catharsis of creativity? Or is this just a creative movie that's head and shoulders above most recent Hong Kong films? It's unknown if Written By is all of the above, but upon immediate reflection, it easily qualifies for that last one.

Also directed by Wai Ka-Fai, Written By tells the tale of Melody (Mia Yam of the Ronald Cheng film It's a Wonderful Life) who as a child was rendered blind in the same car accident that took the life of her father Tony (Lau Ching-Wan). Her mother Mandy (Kelly Lin) and younger brother Oscar (Chung Ying-Kit) also survived, but their loss holds sway even ten years after the accident. Now a young adult, Melody decides to ease her mother's grief by writing a story that diverges from reality. In Melody's fantasy, her father is now the lone survivor of the family's car crash. Now blind, Tony has only a Filipino maid named Maria (Yeung Shuk-Man) for company, and he's still hurting at the loss of his family. How, then, does this lone blind man cope with his day-to-day grief? Simple: he writes his own story supposing that his family survived. That's a story within a story within a story - and Wai Ka-Fai is just getting started. Before long, the characters start to write over unexpected new tragedies, with their stories crisscrossing and getting seriously meta for the characters as well as the characters in the stories written by the other characters. Still following this?

Hopefully you are, because if you aren't then you're out of luck. Written By is creative to a fault, playfully mixing up reality and fantasy until it all jumbles into one large, hard-to-completely-follow tangle. Total understanding is not necessary, however; Wai renders his characters and their situations so deftly that by the time the plot gets tangled he's already earned goodwill. Melody's fantasy allows Tony the chance for reunion with his departed wife and children, and Wai successfully uses many of his previous techniques and themes to tell his could-be maudlin tale. His characters know things that they can't discuss openly, act on their emotions instead of voicing them out, and play pretend in order to maintain the illusion of happiness. This type of character-through-action has been used by Wai before (in Yesterday Once More, Love For All Seasons, and even Shopaholics, to name a few), and Wai wields his devices well, achieving a mixture that's part satire, part fantasy, and ultimately quite touching. Given his work in Written By, it's easy to see that the warmth and emotional surprise of the previous Johnnie To-Wai Ka-Fai collaborations came from Wai.

Despite Wai's creativity, the film does hit some turbulence. At a certain point, reality and fantasy collide and the film grows a bit tired, mixing timelines and storylines in a fast-paced and increasingly confusing manner. It's all rather entertaining but also a bit too much; like in his protracted ending to Shopaholics, Wai Ka-Fai can go too far with his dizzy pacing, threatening to lose or alienate the audience with his breathless reversals. That exhaustion can easily happen here, as the film rarely takes the time to explain what it's doing, and many of the narrative's twists don't seem to amount to more than cleverness for the sake of cleverness. The film's narrative is a large puzzle, and it would be charitable to say that it follows a cohesive and completely understandable thread when unraveled. Not aiding matters is lead actress Mia Yam, who's wooden and somewhat distant. Next to Lau Ching-Wan or even Kelly Lin, she's way out of her depth. Written By has its holes, and those who insist on pointing them out may have a right to.

However, those willing to suspend disbelief may find Written By to be quite rewarding. The film manages to entertain and surprise, delivering affecting emotions while also seeming genuine about them. Written By feels very much like a Hong Kong film - a grateful thing, given the local industry's lack of output and concentration on foreign markets. The production values are suspect with the frequent visual effects proving particularly unconvincing, but that low-tech quality is also a plus. This isn't a movie that asks the audience to be engaged because someone paid the special effects house a ton of cash. Written By relies on a unique concept, innately sympathetic situations, a charismatic lead actor and Wai Ka-Fai's creative, abstruse and ultimately winning way of revealing his characters and their emotions. The message he delivers is not revolutionary, but it's felt and appropriate, and carries a surprising weight. The cultural details are very fun too, with the characters' revisionist writing eventually extending all the way to the Buddhist afterlife. There's surprise and invention in Written By, as well as meaning and emotion that never seems pretentious. It may not be the best Hong Kong film of the year, but Written By easily qualifies as one of the most special.

by Kozo -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Written By (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (2)

See all my reviews

December 28, 2009

This customer review refers to Written By (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
hard to understand but really good none-the-less Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
it is hard to review this film because i had trouble understanding some parts of the film but none-the-less i throughly enjoyed this picture. this could be due to the fact that things happen right off the bat; straight away tragedy strikes, not soon after a story is written plunging the audience within its fantasy, it is here where within the story another story is written creating confusion amoungst the audience for the director, wai ka fai cuts in and out between the lot. references are made to chinese mythology but not too much in which it would bewilder westerners.

my main problem with the film though, apart from the fore mentioned - hard to follow story, is the characters them self though likeable they seem very much fictional (could be wai ka fai's play on the idea of writing about a fictional character writing about a fiction); they have lines that one wouldn't actually say in reality. this is compensated by how we are made to care for these people and it is this where wai ka fai tugs at the heart strings numerous times.

acting wise, Lau ching wan does play his character abit over the top and at times he does not seem all that blind, but that too is passable once you get the idea of it being a story within a story.

quite an emotional picture, highly enjoyable.
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Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

September 23, 2009

This customer review refers to Written By (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
A story within a story within a story... Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
Any kind of fiction, whether in the form of a novel, a stage play, or a movie, requires its audience to enter into a suspension of disbelief. In other words, in order for a movie to be enjoyed, viewers must not regard it merely as actors being filmed while delivering scripted lines; they must accept that these are real people in a real story. For me, the structure of "Written by" made it impossible to suspend disbelief.

"Written by" opens with a family of four being tragically altered by a car accident; the father of the family is killed and his daughter is blinded. Ten years later, the three surviving family members still struggle with their grief. To help deal with that grief, the blinded daughter, with the assistance of her mother and brother, begin to write a story in which the father survived the accident and, instead, the mother, daughter, and son were killed in it but return as ghosts to keep the father company. By this device, the film takes a step 'through the looking glass' and we enter into a cascading series of ever wilder inversions of reality.

While this approach permits extraordinary flights of fancy, the film's characters become mere artifices; none seemed like real people (a problem heightened by both Lau Ching Wan and Mia Yim overacting their characters' blindness). While the film runs for only a brief 82 minutes before the closing credits begin to role, those 82 minutes seemed interminable to me because I never believed the action on the screen; it was always just actors delivering scripted lines.
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