BY GEORGE PO CHUN HUANG
Compared to the constant eclipses in Innocent (2005), director Simon Chung’s second feature film End of Love (2009) is much dimmer. The film starts with the teenager Ming looking for a person to "release his passion with”. His mother is shocked when she sees what he did. Maybe it was because of Ming’s urges, or maybe it was because he unconsciously wanted to make his parents know who he really was, mo matter which reason, the highly dramatic setting makes this film unconventional and progressive.
Ming finally has a boyfriend, but also a shadow that will forever haunt him. At the moment when humanity is most fragile, he cannot resist the drive from all of the stress deep down in his heart, drowning it in drugs and anonymous sex. His is a;sp afraid that the relationship can end because of the preassures from their rescpective families. Therefore, he decides to move to another place with Ming. Focusing on establishing a stable relationship, he fails to see what has been torturing Ming all the way.
Ming goes into a Christian revival center and receives reformatory education, but Ming, of course, refuses to be “reformed.” What really changes him is his roommate, Chan, who had been “torturing himself” to gain relief from pain, just like Ming. It was not religion that moved Ming but a person that really understood him. Except for Chan’s sincerity and forgiveness, his determination to change also maakes Ming realize that he is not beyond redemption.
Through the three characters in End of Love, director Chung continues to explores the struggles he first showed in First Love & Other Pains (1999), people from Hong Kong, or even Asia, are facing the narrow moral values imposed on them by both family and society. Ming, Ming’s boyfriend, and Chan all bear the burden of their family, which prevents them from pursuing a new life. Although both Ming and Chan have to confess about their wrongdoings, and their self-indulgent behavior was inadvisable, are not them a form of “self-punishment”? The excessively dramatic climax in the film might seem abrupt, but is it not a reflection of reality?