Peter Chan is a director of a remarkable movie that shows chronicles of a love story of two immigrants, who did everything possible not to love each other. The genre of the picture combines the features of the romance melodrama, nostalgia, and hardships. The movie shows the fight of two hearts filled with love and the desire of welfare. The picture tells about the hard life of immigrants. They had no other choice but to struggle for their existence. Thus, they tried to find all possible ways to earn money. Comrades, Almost a Love Story reveals the role of money in the modern Chinese society and its effect on social relations.
The theme of money is always popular, as everyday in all sectors of the modern society people use money. For many individuals, money represents the basic value and is a measure of the universal equivalent. Since money fulfills many needs, the majority of people think that it is the only thing they need. They dedicate their lives to material values. People forget that money is a boon, as it serves a man and not vice versa. There is also a world of spiritual values. It includes kindness, faith, moral principles of love and respect for others. In order to disprove the value of material things, Peter Chan raises the topic of money in his movie. He shows that there are more important things in life than money and financial well-being.
Hong Kong of 1986 presented a crowd in the movie. The heroes encountered obstacles presented by that crowd. Having emigrated from Northern China, they had a very small place for living. Li Xiao-Jun had a job of delivering chickens by bicycle. During his visit to McDonalds, he met Li Qiao, who was used to living in that big city and, thus, offered to help him in learning English as it could make the job search easier. Li Qiao had multiple jobs. She had chosen making money instead of having friend and relations. The heroine was not a romantic girl, but a skeptical one. She had her own method of earning money. Her plans were to become rich and buy a house for her mother. Li Qiao used the delusion of mainlanders to swindle them out of their money. However, when naive Xiao-Jun was supposed to become her victim, they became close due to their common feelings of loneliness and desolate souls. Xiao-Jun said: “I needed a friend and you’re the only one I have” (Chan, 1966).
Comrades, Almost a Love Story discusses the problem of isolation and similar loneliness in the crowd that is experienced by almost all newcomers to big cities. Thus, despite being Chinese, the heroes became isolated in Hong Kong. Li Qiao and Xiao-Jun were ashamed to say that they were not from Hong Kong: “Are you from the Mainland, too?” Xiao-Jun asked. “Of course not!” she said (Chan, 1966). They made much effort in order to climb the social ladder.
After becoming acquainted, the main characters were working hard from morning till night. As a result of the struggle with the crowd’s rules and difficult financial condition, they became friends. Moreover, they fell in love but inevitably parted. That decision was explained by the pursuit of financial benefits. They had different life goals. The heroes had also different attitudes to making money. Li Qiao’s life values were based on the rise or fall of the savings. In contrast, Xiao-Jun established himself through generation and family connections. In particular, he found a job associated with the restaurant business that was characterized by a traditional family-based approach. In addition, Li Xiao-Jun had a girlfriend at home and Li Qiao dreamt of not domestic but financial success. Moreover, the pursuit of money pushed Li Qiao to find one more job as a massage therapist, which was not supported by Xiao-Jun. At the same time, the hero decided to buy the two same pieces of jewelry. One of them was for his fiancé while another was for Qiao. This shows the man’s commercialism which wounded the young girl.
Nevertheless, the movie highlights the fact that money cannot guarantee happiness. Li Xiao-Jun married the girl, for whom he had come to Hong Kong to earn money. Li Qiao had relations with Eric Tsang, who was financially successful. Having met each other, they were not able to keep their feelings in order to save their positions. That encounter brought a sense of uncertainty about the choices of their life ways.
The key issues of the movie are revealed with the help of the artists’ play. Maggie Cheung does not play in mediocre and low-budget movies. She is a very professional actress. In this melodrama, one can once again make sure it is brilliant and soulful acting. She played with such efficiency that while watching the picture the audience experienced all feelings that her character was going through. Leon Lai played a good, hard-working, and simple man, who relied only on himself. His hero met the one, who changed his life in the vast metropolis. Leon Lai played sincerely and the protagonist was presented as an ideal and reliable man. Peter Chan showed two ordinary people, who had to earn a living, overcoming everyday troubles.
Along with exploring the themes of family, friendship, and love affairs, Peter Chan pays attention to the daily problems. The director tries to reveal the problem of life struggles such as trying to make ends meet and overcoming the economic crisis. The picture shows the role of money in the society and the way it can control people’s choices and lives. The end of the movie emphasizes that money cannot make people happy. There are other important things in life such as love, family, friends, and feelings.