Road Rash Reviews

Time Still Turns the Pages Review****-

Cert 15 | 95 mins | 2023

4 star devastating and poignant redemption tale.

Time Still Turns the Pages is a 2023 Hong Kong film written and directed by Nick Cheuk, who makes his extremely impressive feature directorial debut with this intimate examination of regret and the human condition.

Nominated for five Golden Horse Awards: Best Feature, Best New Director, Best Original Script, Best Supporting Actor and Best Film Editing, it is showing in cinemas across the UK from 24th November 2023, courtesy of Trinity CineAsia.

“Mr. Cheng, mind your own business. The whole school knows you got divorced. Why are you still wearing your ring?”

As the film opens, we see a young boy jump from a roof, only to discover to our immense relief that there was a ledge there for him to land on. He shouts a promise to himself, I will work harder and get into University. This young boy, we discover, is Eli Cheng (Sean Wong – Back Home).

Meanwhile, we meet Mr. Cheng, a young teacher, recently divorced, whose father is terminally ill and who is really trying to reconcile his personal and private lives. When a janitor finds an anonymous suicide note in the bin whilst cleaning, the race is on to try and find out which of his students is contemplating taking their own life.

Through a series of flashbacks we are told the story of Eli Cheng, who lives with his cruel and abusive father (Ronald Cheng – Vulgaria), his exasperated mother (Rosa Maria Velasco – Break Up 100) and talented younger brother Alan (Curtis Ho Pak-lim), with whom he is constantly compared by his parents. We also begin to see a connection between Eli and Mr. Cheng as he reads his diary and relives his emotional distress.

“Fat Principal said writing in a diary can get me as smart as his son and therefore into HKU. Starting today, I will be writing every day and hope my grades will get better and better. My Dad would then stop beating me.”

Time Still Turns the Pages is a very powerful film, beautifully written and when it gets to the heartbreaking revelation half way through it’s like an emotional side swipe, I was completely unprepared.

Nick Cheuk writes of his decision to make the film, “The idea of creating “Time Still Turns The Pages” was inspired by the issue of students’ suicide problem in Hong Kong in recent years. I wanted to analyze the causes of these tragedies and dispel the public’s misunderstanding of these children by exploring their journey in the face of pressure from their studies, families and society.”

This he does very well, as the characters are so well written that you really feel a connection to them and the expectations that are put upon them. This is a real emotional roller coaster and not for the easily upset, it’s very delicate subject material, but it’s handled beautifully.

A wonderful film, which despite its subject matter left me with an overall feeling of positivity and certainly well worth a trip to the cinema.

“Let’s find out which student is struggling with mental health and ask that student to seek help from Halena. It’s hard to teach the kids nowadays. They are so fragile and now one is threatening to jump off a building?”

Time Still Turns the Pages is showing in cinemas across the UK from 24th November 2023. Book your tickets below.

Time Still Turns the Pages

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DirectorNick Cheuk
StarringChun Yip Lo, Ronald Cheng, Sean Wong
Category: Cinema, film, Review