Christmas Rose is the hotly anticipated directorial (and screenwriting) debut of popular Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung, having its world premiere only a few months ago in May.
Set almost exclusively inside a courtroom, this taut, clever legal thriller pits former hotshot defence lawyer turned highly moral prosecutor Tim (a dark and brooding Aaron Kwok) against potential professional rival Freddy (Xia Yu) in a case involving allegations of sexual assault made by beautiful, wheelchair-bound Jing (a hauntingly vulnerable Kwai Lun Mei) against her doctor, Zhou (Chang Chen). The allegations are vehemently denied by the famous Dr Zhou, whose career and relationship are threatened by the media’s harsh judgment of his actions.
Tim, whose relationship with his father, himself a former prosecutor, is best described as fractious, initially refuses to doubt his helpless client Jing and is adamant that Dr Zhou is guilty of all allegations. But as the facts of the case are laid bare before him, Tim starts to question whether everything is as cut and dried as it seems.
Christmas Rose is emotionally harrowing and is not easy watching, posing probing and taboo questions that tug at the viewer’s conscience for the full ninety minutes of the film. However the film’s real strength lies in the realistic portrayal of a group of characters with different reasons for lying – or telling the truth.
Screening on 27 September at 8.15pm at the Mercury Cinema.