After This Our Exile

After This Our Exile ★★★½

It's great to see HK New Wave auteur Patrick Tam back directing again. Once a mentor to Wong Kar-Wai, he had recently been involved in cinema as an editor (he edition Johnnie To's Election!). Tam's first directorial effort in nearly two decades, After This Our Exile will not be remembered as one of his best films, but it's certainly worth seeking out. An epic of sorts, the film is set in the recent past, where a former playboy (Aaron Kwok) is having trouble keeping his family together. He ends up alone with his young boy and this beautiful, touching relationship is what the film ends up focusing on. It's a very atmospheric work, thanks partly to the Malaysian locations that substitute for old Hong Kong and also to the cinematography of Ping Bin-Lee who is best known for his films with Hou Hsiao-Hsien.