Echoes of the Rainbow

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Echoes of the Rainbow
Traditional 歲月神偷
Simplified 岁月神偷
Mandarin Suìyuè Shéntōu
Cantonese Seoi3 Jyut6 San4 Tau1
Directed by Alex Law Kai-Yui
Produced by Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting
Starring Simon Yam
Sandra Ng
Aarif Lee
Evelyn Choi
Distributed by Mei Ah Entertainment
Release date
  • 14 February 2010 (2010-02-14) (Berlinale)
  • 11 March 2010 (2010-03-11) (Hong Kong)
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Box office HK$23,111,759

Echoes of the Rainbow (Chinese: 歲月神偷; Jyutping: Seoi3 Jyut6 San4 Tau1; romanisation: Shui Yuet Sun Tau; literally "Time, the Thief") is a 2010 Hong Kong drama film directed by Alex Law and starring Simon Yam and Sandra Ng. It won the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury "Generation Kplus" category at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.[1]

It tells the story of a working family in Hong Kong whose eldest son, a popular boy and star athlete, becomes ill with leukemia.

The film is set in 1960s British Hong Kong and was shot on the historical Wing Lee Street in Sheung Wan. It was financed by the Hong Kong government's Film Development Fund.[2]


Eight-year-old Law Chun-yi (who goes by the nickname Big Ears) lives with his parents and his sixteen-year-old brother Desmond in a shoe shop on Wing Lee Street in late 1960s Hong Kong. Chun-yi looks up to his brother, who is a champion runner at the prestigious Diocesan Boys' School, earns top grades, is a talented musician, and is very popular; Chun-yi's parents and teachers often scold him for his poor attitude in learning (contradictory to his brother). Desmond has a girlfriend, Flora, who comes from a wealthy family. Flora's family moves away from Hong Kong to the United States, affecting Desmond's grades and performance in school. He also gradually becomes aware of the inequalities in Hong Kong society of that time, both through interactions with a cocky British policeman who extorts money from his father in exchange for letting them keep their shop (and who insists that Desmond will never be successful because his English isn't good enough) and through his first time seeing the inside of Flora's family's mansion. Most of this is told through Chun-yi, the film's narrator.

Not long before Flora leaves, Desmond's grades start declining and he takes third place in a race he had hoped to win. One day he collapses suddenly after a typhoon nearly destroys the family's house, and his father takes him to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with leukemia. His parents search for a doctor who can cure him but find none, and his condition worsens until he has to remain in the hospital, where the nurses treat him poorly and extort money from his parents in exchange for basic care. Chun-yi, who spends much of his free time stealing trinkets around town, tries to offer them all to his brother in attempt to cheer him up, but Desmond doesn't accept any of them. Flora returns from the United States and visits him in the hospital, where they share their first kiss, but Desmond dies shortly thereafter. Years later Chun-yi, narrating retrospectively, remarks that "time is the greatest thief". In the film's final scene, Chun-yi and his mother are shown visiting Desmond's grave, and Chun-yi, now a teenager, recounts a lesson Desmond had taught him about double rainbows.



Wing Lee Street, where filming took place

China Daily placed the film on their list of the best ten Chinese films of 2010.[3]

Wing Lee Street, where Echoes of the Rainbow was shot, was originally included in a redevelopment plan. However, the Berlinale award won by the film stimulated the wish of Hong Kong people to preserve this heritage site and community. The Town Planning Board eventually decided to keep all the tong laus on the street and to designate the region as a preservation site.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 29th Hong Kong Film Awards
    • Won: Best Screenplay (Alex Law)
    • Won: Best Actor (Simon Yam)
    • Nominated: Best Actress (Sandra Ng)
    • Won: Best New Performer (Aarif Lee)
    • Nominated: Best New Performer (Chung Shiu To)
    • Won: Best Original Film Song (Lowell Lo, Alex Law and Aarif Lee)
  • 60th Berlin International Film Festival
    • Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury "Generation Kplus"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Berlinale 2010: Crystal Bears and Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Awards in Generation Kplus" (Press release). Berlin International Film Festival Press Office. 2010-02-20. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Zhou, Raymond (30 December 2010). "Top 10 movies of 2010 in China". China Daily. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Li, Zoe (17 March 2010). "The pros and cons of preserving photogenic Wing Lee Street". CNN Travel. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 

External links[edit]