» » Любовь в затяжке (2010)

Short summary

Since 2007, the Hong Kong health authorities have implemented an anti-smoking law that bans people from smoking in all indoor areas, including offices, restaurants, bars, and karaoke lounges. Office smokers now have to take their cigarette breaks on the streets outside, which has led to groups of smokers from the same building bonding together in cliques known as "hot pot packs." In an alley packed with loudmouth co-workers spreading the daily gossip, Jimmy, a mild-mannered advertising executive, meets cosmetics salesgirl Cherie. An awkward flirtation ensues amidst their afternoon nicotine rush. As their mutual infatuation intensifies, the couple moves farther and farther away from the rest of the "hot pot pack" into their own private alley, where they have conversations of unexpected emotional depth. As smoke gets in their eyes, one thing leads to another

Was awarded a Category III certificate (adult admission only, Hong Kong's equivalent of NC-17) due to the positive depiction of smoking in the film

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Bluddefender
    I don't smoke, but I will tell you that from time to time my admiration of the smokers is that camaraderie formed given the gathering of like-minded (erm, addicted?) folks within Singapore's context of the yellow box, where they are permitted to light up and puff to their hearts' content in public (now with even stricter regulations it must be 5m away from an building entrance). It's an "us against the world", but that doesn't faze them at all. In need of a light? Well, someone at the box will gladly assist you. Need another stick but have smoked your last? Somebody else can offer you one. For free. And not to mention the many talk-cock-sing-song sessions that occur, where the yellow box has evolved into a bona fide grapevine for news, jokes and gossips to be traded. This yellow box bonding is much envied.

    But of course that isn't reason enough to convert me, but it sure is reason enough for Hong Kong director Pang Ho-cheung to weave a romantic comedy based on this premise, and he does so with much aplomb in the opening scene being a direct result, that it just grabs you and holds your attention all the way until the end, with an astute sense and insightful capture of the essence and psyche of the modern day dating game. Being a young (though established) director, he combines the in-thing of today's technology, with SMS and doctored Facebook profile pictures into a commentary of sorts about the games people play when looking for love.

    Hong Kong too has similar strict regulations in the areas where one can smoke, and these are all explained in the film. Ho uses them as a social background to weave the story of two characters - the English title is nowhere remotely close to the Chinese one, which is "Jimmy and Cherie", named after the two characters played by Shawn Yue and Miriam Yeung, in a sort of Romeo and Juliet fashion and the likes. They meet at one of the smoking areas where they trade stories with folks from other parts of the neighbourhood, and soon become fast friends, hitting it off almost instantaneously after cosmetics salesgirl Cherie learns of the unfortunate infidelity of ad executive Jimmy's (soon to be ex) girlfriend, which provides enormous punctuations of laughter since she (and others not supposed to be in the loop) are sworn to secrecy.

    Despite their age gap (in real life as well) which is made explicitly known in the narrative, both Shawn and Miriam (last seen on screen some 3 years ago with Hooked on You, another Hong Kong romantic comedy I dig) share a lovable, natural chemistry which is hallmark of any great romance, despite roadblocks placed in their way like current relationships gone sour, and the questioning of the What If when someone else who does seem more like one's soulmate comes along. Unravelling itself over seven consecutive days, we follow these two wonderfully crafted characters as they hit it off, and quietly root for them to come together, though it's no mean feat, almost reminiscent of anyone's experience in a relationship when the beginning phase seems pretty awesome, until expectations start settling in and the mind games start to creep in.

    The jokes here are laugh a minute when the director gets his story to deliver punchline after punchline which worked almost all the time, and shows his unique knack at pace and knowing what works. Included are some documentary-reel like clips containing faux pas interviews with the characters which while a tangent from the main narrative, contains plenty of rip-roaring revelations that continue all the way until during the end credits (which contains those which don't exactly fit into the main narrative proper). The main theme from the soundtrack is also beautiful to listen to, and becomes instant earworm.

    This is another winner from Pang Ho-cheung, and is definitely highly recommended. I think it'll make its way to Singapore despite the focus on the smokes (with some redeeming factors), but surely, this is one film that will lose out tremendously if dubbed in Mandarin, since the colourful, fast-and-furiously delivered-only-in-Cantonese swear phrases will lose their shine (the audience was just going nuts!). Oh and thanks to this film, I will also want to try out the dry-ice toilet bowl effect, nothing like taking a heavenly dump!
  • comment
    • Author: Otrytrerl
    Love in a Puff is a Hong Kong film about a boy and girl starring Miriam Yeung Chin Wah as Cherrie and Shawn Yue as Jimmy. Jimmy is the young 20 something, nonchalant, advertise pushing boy while Cherrie is the older 20 something, Sephora make up selling girl full of sass.

    When Hong Kong starts to throw down the hammer on smoking, the areas in which people can smoke start to dwindle. Smoking areas become dens for these new outcasts as they huddle in cramped alley ways. With fire between their lips the smoking breaks offer an opportunity to swap ghost stories and catch up on the latest gossip. One day Cherrie mets Jimmy for the first time and as he lights her cigarette he the also lights the flame in her heart.

    Aggressively she gets Jimmy attention by her seductive pushing and pulling. Yes, I'm into you, oh maybe I'm not. Yes, no, Yes, no, and on and on it goes because you know you like it.

    The idea behind this film is extremely simple but it's the exquisite execution that's worth seeing. The director Ho-Cheung Pang masterfully directs his talented actors to show, not tell; to communicate through lies and body movement. It's not an easy thing to do to show the minute instances of attraction and jealously with just a way you say something.

    The cinematography is great at capturing intimate moments between the two. However the constant shallow focus gets a little out of hand at times leaving some of the action out of focus. The music is also a very nice touch having a sort of floating sensation above the characters just like the smoke they exhale.

    Love in a Puff is a well done romantic comedy, in the showing I was watching the audience was fully enchanted by the two love birds and laughed unreservedly at the jokes. It's definitely the perfect date movie for those wishing to inhale some laughs.

    Who this film is not for:

    -People who don't like subtitles

    -People who take love too seriously
  • comment
    • Author: Nuadazius
    The girl has mauve hair, an indication of the hipness of this couple who first meet on a smoke break in a Hong Kong alleyway. He's in advertising; she sells cosmetics. And his shirt is the same color, signaling an affinity this movie seeks to explore. A Hong Kong ordinance prohibited smoking in all indoor areas. Employees began gathering in gathering cliques they called "hot pot packs" to smoke outdoors, talk, and have fun. That's the starting point. There's much camaraderie and banter -- liberally laced with profanity -- among the "hot pot pack" that includes a man with round glasses, a girl with a knit cap, a Pakistani pizza man, a little uniformed hotel bellman -- and the couple- to-be, Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung Chin Wah). The movie begins with a dramatization of a shaggy dog story about a man locked in car trunk in a parking lot who turns out to be a ghost. There's a lot of joking round, and things stay very light, becoming just a little romantic when Jimmy joins Cherie at a costume birthday party at a Karaoke bar -- except Cherie turns out to have a boyfriend, KK (Jo Kuk).

    Eventually he finds out about Jimmy (and we see how much fun he and Cherie are having together) and he gets jealous. Love in a Puff shows how romantic text messaging can be -- and how it can give away secrets if spied on. And when Cherie decides to switch to Jimmy's network so her SMS fees aren't too high, Jimmy's cohorts at work say she's too aggressive. Jimmy has just had a breakup with a girlfriend at work, and Cherie is older. These are the givens that do nothing but fuel the mutual attraction.

    This movie excels in its constant interplay of lightness and seriousness, in the way the milieu and the social world is sketched in, and in the great chemistry between Yeung and Yue. Their dialogue is breezy and sometimes touching. Dialogue in group scenes is feisty and provocative by sometimes strict Hong Kong standards; Love in a Puff caused some controversy, which could add to its hip gloss for locals. Some of the whimsy recalls romantic moments in Wong Kar-wai, but it's all more mundane, but enough to show that Wong's tropes are far from unique and sometimes come from Hong Kong pop culture. If only Pang had taken more breaks from the sit-com charm and stepped back a bit, he might have created a bit more magic. There is a bit of that with a silhouette-and-full-moon sequence of Cherie at the 80-minute mark, when the story reaches its make-or-break get-serious point. At film's end, the couple come to some kind of commitment, with Jimmy's Land Rover stalled on an overpass, appropriately enough by making serious plans to both give up smoking, and focus on each other.

    The apparent triviality of the subject matter, along with the modern urban couple's difficulty with communication (despite multiple platforms) is offset by wit and keen observation of little details every step of the way. This light, cinematic, amusing movie is appealing and fresh -- and has an assured polish, along with casual touches, like the little small-screen 16mm interviews that serve as occasional commentary. All in all, Love in a Puff is a delightful little piece of fluff, as casual as its lovers try to be. One online critic listed it as one of his top movies of 2010 and characterized it as "forgettable in an unforgettable way," and that's about right. Local commentaries say the film won't work dubbed in Mandarin because its Cantonese profanities are untranslatable and had the audiences in stitches throughout. Subtleties apart, the English titles give a fair sense of this pungency. Some little SMS tricks emerge too: for instance, if you type "i n 55!W !" it looks like nonsense or code, but turn the phone upside down and it reads "I MISS U!" Of such details are Puff's flavor and charm made.

    After its initially rocky debut in Hong Kong due to its profanity and heavy nicotine use, Love in a Puff has breezed along the festival route, appearing in Seattle, Melbourne, Tokyo, Palm Springs, landing in April 2011 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, where it was screened for this review. The original Chinese title is Chi ming yu chun giu, which means simply Jimmy and Cherie. I was not previously familiar with the work of this prolific 2000's Hong Kong director.
  • comment
    • Author: I_LOVE_228
    Love in a Puff is a light-hearted romantic comedy examining typical romantic relationships in Hong Kong nowadays. It starts creatively and ends with a catchy song. However, the film is far from perfect because of several reasons.

    First, the story with some witty and authentic dialogue is not flawless. That Cherie leaves her boyfriend whom she has been with for 5 years because of a newly met male friend she fancies simply does not convince me. Her character should at least experience some emotional turmoil when she makes the decision. Also, it is unlikely for her to go to a motel with Jimmy with her luggage. Instead, she should look for a place to settle in first. Apart from this, the twist at the end seems unlikely.

    Second, although Miriam Yeung is able to perform naturally, her character is not three dimensional enough to showcase her acting skills. Judging from her character's tone and choice of words, the audience only sees Miriam, instead of Cherie in the movie. Miriam's character should be called Miriam. Moreover, the scene in which she argues with her husband in the bedroom is devoid of tension, which is a solid proof of her average performance.

    Third, the use of foul language is slightly over the top. After watching the movie, I cannot help but ask if it is necessary for most characters (a health inspector included) to use foul language so often. It seems to me that the movie is stereotyping smokers as foul-mouthed. By the way, it is interesting to observe that some members of the audience burst into laughter whenever a character uses foul language. In other words, this kind of joke does not work on everybody.

    Fourth, the interviews are insignificant and insipid. Indeed, most of the things they talk about in the interviews are not thought-provoking. Besides, is it necessary to show the boom mic intentionally in every interview?

    On the whole, Love in a Puff, at times, has a subtle insight into romantic relationships in Hong Kong nowadays, whereas it is far from perfect.
  • comment
    • Author: Fenrikree
    A light hearted and carefree Rom-Com of the year...

    Director Pang Ho Cheung rarely disappoints and his latest venture in Love in a Puff is suitably far less self-indulgence and more carefree and fun to watch. Together with the witty and interesting dialogue co-written by last year High Noon's Heiward Mak, Pang paces the film in almost real time fashion. From the sense of a throw-back to Woody Allen's classic Annie Hall by breaking the third wall with characters talking about love, life, fate and smoking to the real time technique similar to the elegantly viewed Before Sunrise. Pang has created a little masterpiece, slightly underrated, easy to go under the radar, but simply a movie for film lovers to embrace.

    Love in a Puff is the kind of film that isn't overtly directed, but rather the actors are allowed space to express themselves in real-time effect. Meeting people at a random ash-can in the back alleyway of Hong Kong is easily believable. After all, for all you smokers out there, how easy is it to share a light or two with a complete stranger with the possibility of striking up a laugh or two? The answer is yes. Pang plays with these premises and goes to the extreme in depicting smokers and constantly smoking. Smoking is what connected them in the first place and former queen of comedy, Miriam Yeung glows in her role as a matured yet simple girl torn between the end of a current relationship and the hope of beginning a new one. Likewise, Shawn Yue gives a career progressing performance as her younger love interest. Despite their best efforts on screen, the duo just somehow never clicks. While the dialogue and interaction between the two is more than interesting, the only evident problem is the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Surely their age difference was taken into account during the movie, but there is something that just stops the duo from kicking in the romantic sparkles. Good friends – yes, but lovers – a definite no-no.

    All in all, Love in a Puff might just feel like a lesser Pang Ho Cheung's effort, but in fact it is exactly that carefree and fun feeling which makes this film better than it should be. It is also a return to the trashy, witty, light hearted fun not seen since his earlier works. It might not mean much, but Love in a Puff is easily the most enjoyable and carefree and light hearted Rom-Com of the year...(Neo 2010)

    I rate it 8/10

  • comment
    • Author: Mitars Riders
    Love in a Puff has a lot about it that I really enjoy. For starters, it was just the right amount of quirky. It was unique without needing to be obnoxious. There were a lot of moments that were heartwarming and fun to witness as the two main characters grew more infatuated with one another. I also enjoyed how the film portrayed love as a very nuanced emotion. It wasn't sappy, in fact it was quite realistic in portraying how far from perfect love, or what we think of as love, can be. The film didn't try to rush a love story, neatly packaged in 1 hour and 44 minutes. Instead, it simply introduces us to the potential beginnings of a partnership. Miriam Chin Wah Yeung gave an incredibly endearing performance. Her facial expressions in particular caused her to stand out among the rest of the cast. I went into this movie not knowing anything about it. Within the first few minutes, I was immediately drawn to her character. This was before I knew she was one of the main characters. She didn't even have very many lines in the beginning, but her expressions really drew me in and made me want to know more about her.

    That being said, there was a lot about the movie that I did not enjoy. They tried to mix an interview-style documentary in with the rest of the film not being done in documentary style. This was never explained. We never find out who the interviewers are, why they're interviewing our characters, and how they were supposed to tie into the story. It seemed like a cheap way to reveal the characters backstories and opinions. An interesting premise, but ultimately I feel it fell short. Another thing I wasn't fond of was how unnecessarily mean our main duo could be. There is a scene where Jimmy is unabashedly rude as he describes one of Cherie's friends as an ugly toad. Instead of sticking up for her friend, Cherie just holds back laughter. This scene really didn't do anything to further the plot. It was just cruel. Even as the poor girl cries from being stood up on a date, Jimmy openly laughs at her and Cherie continues to not stick up for her supposed friend. These aren't the type of characters I like to root for, personally.

    So really, I'm not sure how I feel about this film. There was a lot that was done right, and some truly charming moments. But also some not-so-charming moments as well.
  • comment
    • Author: Nicearad
    Men and Women has a lot of story, but most of them are normal. The deeper truth is the most normal story has an exciting part in your heart. This movie moves you by show you the misty mood of ambiguity. It's an enjoyment of inner world.
  • comment
    • Author: Adoranin
    First of all, it is very subjective as I am a smoker. Second, you may find a way out if you are a non-smoker or anti-smoking, you are not the target audience of this romantic comedy.

    Since smoking is prohibited in all indoor area in Hong Kong, people used to smoke in the alley nearby the... workplace. In the smoking break, the cosmetic salesgirl, Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and Jimmy (Shawn Yue), they begin the relationships under this unique circumstance.

    From time to time, they text each other, smoke tons of cigs and hang around together. Director (Pang Ho-Cheung) flawlessly captures the habit, manner and weird things nowadays. Meanwhile, the Mandarin dialogue is sarcastic in a very roundabout way. However it couldn't be fully translated as it relates local culture.

    Text messaging, smoke and drinks, hang out, facebook or whatsoever. The movie reflects bundle of social behavior and interaction, it's truly a picture of the relationships between twenties / thirties. No matter how easy to communicates, they failed to express their own feeling, especially Jimmy, who does it by text messaging rather than facing each other. The natural mind-set is another enjoyable piece of the movie. Besides, the mockumentary-like video clips intersecting to the film is like a bunch of snacks or tricks. It's not bad at all, conversely, I would rather say this is essential and constructive to the plot.

    As a final point, Pang sets it well but hardly to say it is structured firmly. Yet, this smoking break is interesting and enjoyable.
  • comment
    • Author: Gaxaisvem
    Time Out Hong Kong gives this delightful rom-com five stars out of six, calling it director PANG Ho-cheung's "minor masterpiece", for good reasons. While smoking provides the general backdrop and you do see an awful lot of puffing on screen, to place too much emphasis on this aspect would be missing the point. What Pang did was making clever use of the introduction of the indoor smoking ban legislation as a vehicle to sketch the contemporary environment and lifestyle of the urban late-twentyish and thirtyish. Nor should the contemporary nature of the courtship game be over-emphasized. What you see, that Pang has deftly depicted, is the he-and-she game that has been going on since the beginning of civilization: hide-and-seek, coy-and-bold, hard-to-get and all these variations. He has, however, done a fantastic job in bringing you right into the middle of the contemporary world.

    While Director Pang deserves a lot of credit, he had help. One is Heiward Mak, talented young director whose debut "High noon" (2008) has received wild acclaim. She is invited by Pang to be the co-scriptwriter, providing no doubt the most valuable angle from the fairer sex. Another is Roy Szeto who is sort of the consultant on how the new generation generally behaves, particularly in the department of obscenity, language-wise. I am not kidding and I do not worry about a libel suit from Szeto because this is properly on record, in the public domain: a radio interview with Director Pang. In fact, this has been quite an issue because the movie is rated Category III (the "R" equivalent) solely because of the swearing, case in point of the absolutely absurd rating system, or witless people who exercise it, but likely both. If you go by their yardstick, Martin Scorsese's "The departed" should have been completed banned, and Mark Wahlberg locked up for life!

    Enough venting. "Love in a puff" is everything you would want in a rom-com: witty and funny, brisk and breezy, believable and likable characters, innovative narration, tender as well as hilarious moments, and at times quite insightful. The two leads Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue take the movie along capably while people in the supporting cast have their own moments too. And yes, Roy Szeto is one of them, giving a pitch-perfect portrayal of the contemporary educated and liberated corporate animal. Highly recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Thundershaper
    Lots of f-bombs and dick or boob jokes tossed around to try and elevate this fairly standard rom-dramedy from the pack. It's not too offensive or juvenile and it's shame to have to get it through subtitles. I'm sure the original Cantonese is more subtle and euphemism based, and crude is always more palatable when it's subtle or funny. Love in a Puff has a CAT III rating and it's not for nudity or all the cigarette smoking.

    The premise of Love in a Puff is one all cigarette smokers will be familiar with. The "smoke break" is a time to bond with co-workers or friends, to make plans and share stories, and, in this case, tell dirty jokes and gossip. It's also an opportunity to massage in baby steps a possibly romantic relationship. There's a lot less "Is this a date?" pressure than even just meeting for coffee. There's a pre-determined end time and it comes quickly. If things aren't going well the suffering is short-lived and if there is a spark you'll leave wanting more. Always a good thing.

    Zoom out from the premise and Love in a Puff makes many observations on modern SMS-based relationships, budding and otherwise. Something I learned, and put to use, from this film is if you type "i n 55!W !" (without the quotes) into a text message your recipient might see it as some nonsense code, but if they turn their phone upside down it will read "i miss u !". How cute. And appropriately enough, that little tidbit is the catalyst for a couple of the larger emotional transitions in the film.

    I like small films like this, the cinematic equivalent, if you will, of a smoke break. Without aiming too high it's easy to hit its mark. It's well acted, and well scripted for the most part, and doesn't veer from its target too often, which is following the seven day courtship of Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and Jimmy (Shawn Yue). Yeung is especially crisp in her performance. There's a wonderful little "no sh*t!" moment near the end of the film when the two of them are in a small battle about who they are and what kind of relationship they're in and Cherie declares "I'm simple and straightforward". She is.

    My only quibble with the film is an unavoidable one. To go from "My name's Cherie", through moving out of the premises and bond of one relationship, to "I'm simple and straightforward" in seven days requires a brisk pace. Maybe that's the way it is these days. There is a time or two where it seems like a little exposition might have ended up on the cutting room floor but maybe things are clearer in the original language and subtitles short of an essay couldn't translate it. Most of the screen time is devoted to the main protagonists, garnished with a handful of side characters and set pieces that don't detract from the lit up screen chemistry required of all good Rom-Coms and provided by Yeung and Yue. All in all a fun time was had with Love in a Puff.

  • Credited cast:
    Miriam Chin Wah Yeung Miriam Chin Wah Yeung - Cherie
    Shawn Yue Shawn Yue - Jimmy
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Singh Hartihan Bitto Singh Hartihan Bitto - Bitto
    Yat Ning Chan Yat Ning Chan - Isabel
    Max Tat-Lun Cheung Max Tat-Lun Cheung - Cherie's friend (as Tat-Lun Cheung)
    Tat-Ming Cheung Tat-Ming Cheung - Joseph
    Matt Chow Matt Chow - Health Inspector
    Queenie Chu Queenie Chu - Yan
    Tien You Chui Tien You Chui - Cashier at 7 / 11
    Charmaine Fong Charmaine Fong - Patty
    Vincent Kok Vincent Kok - Tak
    Jo Kuk Jo Kuk - KK
    June Lam June Lam - Brenda
    Wai-Hang Lau Wai-Hang Lau - Taiwanese guy
    Ying Kwan Lok Ying Kwan Lok - Cop in car park
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