Original title: 烈火青春
Director: Patrick Tam
Runtime: 96 minutes
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
Louis (Leslie Cheung) is an aimless burnout haunted by the loss of his mother and living an empty life of luxury. He maintains a friendship with his cousin Kathy (Pat Ha), who holds her own mysterious past, having once lived in Japan. In a series of meet-cutes, Louis gets together with the headstrong Tomato (Cecilia Yip) while Kathy ends up with Pong (Kent Tong), a taxi driver with a difficult home life. Their budding romances inhabit the peculiar spaces of the city and eventually drift towards Hong Kong’s outlying islands. Drawn together by their youth, they share their individual burdens and hopes for a meaningful life. However, things get shaken up when Shinsuke (Yung Sai-kit), a man from Kathy’s past, emerges and threatens to undo the idyllic arrangement they have created for themselves.
Nomad is a film that defies easy characterisation, featuring various tonal shifts and a blend of disparate genres that have come to define the work of director Patrick Tam. As a seminal figure in the Hong Kong New Wave scene, Tam’s films have inspired generations of filmmakers, including his mentee Wong Kar-wai. Nomad is his meditation on youth and a snapshot of a country in a crisis of identity fielding its various foreign influences. The journey Tam’s characters ultimately undergo is a search for the permanent through fruitlessly indulging in the ephemeral.
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