Johnnie To: Expect the Unexpected

Wu Yen

Chung Mo Yim

Johnnie To and Wai Ka-faiHong Kong123 minutes2001PGColourCantonese

Nov 5
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Three of HK cinema's most glamorous divas — Anita Mui, Sammi Cheng, and Cecilia Cheung — team up in To and his longtime collaborator Wai Ka-fai's deliriously giddy combo of women's picture, costume farce, and period musical. Cheng takes the title role as the female scholar-diplomat-warrior, whose genius attracts the love of Emperor Qi (Mui), a man who sometimes disguises himself as a woman. A fox spirit (Cheung) falls in love with both of them, and proceeds to wreak splendid havoc as, gendered male, she courts Wu Yen, while as a female she seduces the emperor. Cantonese wordplay and low-budget magic alternate with contemporary satire, while the playful, free-form gender-shifting ultimately gives way to an unexpected, emotionally devastating kick. "A pure lark … the most outré outing yet from the Johnnie To/Wai Ka-fai directing tandem" (Variety).