Director – Lik Ho – 2021 – Hong Kong – Cert. N/C 15+ – 90m
A young loser looks back on his life prior to running a 10K marathon to create an achievement of which he can be proud – online in the UK as part of Focus Hong Kong 2021 Easter from Wednesday, March 31st to Tuesday, April 6th
If you imagine that a movie with a title like I Still Remember would be chock full of flashbacks, you’d be dead right. Lee Chi Hang (Wu Tar Tung) fondly remembers his primary school teacher Wong Kwok Wai (Patrick Tam Yiu Man) who first encouraged him when he saw him cheering on his friend Yu Leung running the perimeter of a small playground and has continued to do so through most of his life.
Whatever he does today, though, Lee can’t seem to get it right. Working at the sales company run by the now grown up Yu (Johnny Hui), he consistently achieves the lowest scores in the weekly office tables. Lee fails for a long time to notice that co-worker and sometime fellow amateur runner Cheung Chi Ling (Sofee Ng Hoi Lam) is in love with him.
Her attempts to get him to run don’t work out either. All he has to do is keep up with her and a group of runners following a tram, but that proves too much. He can’t keep up and astops dad in his tracks as they run on.
Wong tries to get him to help train plump would-be runner Yu Tin Sum (Toby Choi Yu Tung) for a tournament to win time with a fresh faced, Japanese sports personality pin up who, despite her determination is ultimately disqualified by a vindictive clique in an all girls’ running club when former best friend Coby Ng Ka Bik (Jocelyn Choi Zung Sze) who has the casting vote uses it to vote with them against her, ending their friendship.
Lee’s father died before he was born and his mother died before he became an adult. Wong was out training primary school boys at running when he met fellow PE teacher Lam Wei Ying (Isabel Chan Yat Ling) doing the same with a group of primary school girls. They later marry and take Lee under their wing. Lee loses touch with them until reconnecting through a school reunion and learning that Wong now runs a clothing sports shot so that he can spend more time with his terminally ill wife in the hospital.
Things come to a head when Lee must choose between attending a meeting on a Sunday morning with an important client for Yu’s company or going on an urban, 10K marathon run to support both Tin Sum and Wong. He chooses the latter event, but after first Tin Sum then Wong collapse, he must complete the course on his own.
Like many Hong Kong movies, the narrative is heavily sentimental yet affecting nonetheless. Something about the ordinariness, the banality of these everyday lives is most touching. Towards the end, as Lee runs the marathon, he imagines various friends who’ve collapsed en route running beside him urging him on much as did the inscription on the back of the photo of him and Yu as kids, with a quote written on the back by Wong in 1998: “for once in your life, cheer yourself on.”
I Still Remember plays online in the UK as part of Focus Hong Kong 2021 Easter from Wednesday, March 31st to Tuesday, April 6th.