The recent trend of bringing to the big screen the life of musical icons, was the perfect occasion to finally bring Anita Mui´s life into cinema. A long time project by producer Bill Kong (Anita´s close friend) who has finally found the perfect timing to turn this project into a reallity, finding the right people that could deliver a biopic that could be measured with the immensity of Anita Mui´s legacy. Bringing her back to life through the magic of the seventh art as that one in a lifetime artist, queen of canto pop and legend of cinema that transcends the boundaries of entertainment as an eternal myth.
The film has been one of the big winners of the latest Hong Kong film awards, with five awards to its name, best new performer (Louise Wong), Best supporting actress (Fish Lew), Best costume and and make up design, best visual effects, and best sound design. Nevertheless, is not about the film of what I´m about to write on the next lines, if not of Longman Leung´s director´s cut, that has landed in some territories for Disney plus, which presents the film into a 5-episodes miniseries, with one hour of extra footage.
The show follows the rise to the top of Anita, since childhood to adulthood, showcasing her struggles with fame, focusing on her eternal quest of love, also covering her struggles with the disease that took her away, her relationship with other icons of the hong kong entertainment industry such as Leslie Cheung (Terrance Lau), but also including her infamous incident with triad leader and movie producer, Wong Long-wai, however and as a big flaw of the script, not going into full detail into the incident, showing her forced exiled outside of Hong Kong after the incident, but omitting some of the consequences afterwards, ignoring to mention some of the other people later involved in the incident such as gang leader and Anita´s protector, “The Tiger of Wanchai“. Same happens with another controversial episodes in Anita´s life, which are also omitted… However, what the series really highlights is her humanitarian work and her pasion for the stage….
On the other hand, the setting of the story is outstanding, displaying impecable production values. showing the changes of Hong Kong as society and its entertainment business, making the experience of sitting in front of the screen, a magical journey to the past across a narrative structure that jumps in time through Anita´s childhood till her last days before her premature death, interspersing Anita´s real footage with the stunning performance of Louise Wong as Anita, showcasing Anita´s magical moments performing on the stage or acting in legendary films such as Rouge (Stanley Kwan, 1988). There´s no doubt that she´s the greatest discovery of the series. A model with no acting experience, who literally has become Anita, bringing her back to life, perfectly imitating her gestures and even her voice, delivering one of the most iconic performances I´ve seen in a very long time. Soon into the series, it comes the time in which you forget that you are watching an incarnation of Anita, and you feel that the real Anita Mui is the one there on the screen.
My final conclusion on this series, is that Anita is a triumph in all aspects. A perfect tribute to the immortal legacy of a Hong Kong icon, that works as an immersive journey where the final destination is a thrill-filled station that starts with three episodes of discovery and excitement, leading to two final very moving episodes, which brings the public closer to the woman who was hiding behind the myth, making them participate in her eternal search for love, through a path paved by her songs and movies, in an unfairly short life where the only love that was reciprocated to her , was the love of her fans. A sincere love, that on other hand, was never enough to save her from her loneliness.
Celebrate the life and career of Anita Mui, on a Disney plus near you!!!