movie buff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2006, 12:00am

Few things are more romantic than watching a good movie with your date on Valentine's Day. Here are five flicks guaranteed to melt hearts:

Casablanca (1942): 'Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time,' cries Ingrid Bergman, who plays the wife of a Czech underground rebel. She utters the famous line after bumping into her former lover, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart, left, with Bergman) - an American exile who runs a popular Casablancan nightspot during the second world war. Wartime romances are popular because love is most exciting when separation - and possibly death - looms in the background. Michael Curtiz directs this beloved American classic; theme song As Time Goes By remains a favourite among sentimental lovebirds.

Shakespeare In Love (1998): Who inspired Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet? A former girlfriend of Brad Pitt, according to filmmaker John Madden, who directs this witty, sexy and romantic film. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the lover and muse of a young, frustrated Shakespeare in the throes of writer's block. Their forbidden affair ends in tears and compels the sorrow-stricken dramatist to compose the greatest love tragedy of all time.

Titanic (1997): It's corny, cheesy and formulaic. But we love it, because deep down all girls want a boyfriend like Leonardo DiCaprio and boys want a girlfriend like Kate Winslet (before she became overweight). Director James Cameron proclaimed himself as 'king of the world' after winning 11 Academy awards with this unsinkable love vehicle that captivated audiences around the globe. It's not the best film in the world, but when it comes to crafting a love story around one of history's most disastrous travel cruises, Cameron deserves to be king.

Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996): It's one of the most mature romances that local cinema has ever produced. Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and Leon Lai Ming star as rootless mainlanders who struggle to make a living and endure tough lessons about love in Hong Kong and the US. Lai, better known as a Canto-pop star at the time of filming, shakes off his teen idol mannerisms and gives an all-rounded performance. Drama king Peter Chan Ho-sun (Perhaps Love) directs.

Love Letter (1995): Director Shunji Iwai's film about love and loss - which ran for a record 204 days at Cine-Art - is a romantic fantasy rife with literary undertones. Starring Japanese idol Miho Nakayama (above) as the female lead, the ethereal film is beautiful to look at. But Love Letter is no ordinary teen romance. It has a sophisticated, multilayered storyline full of twists, as well as a theme of reclaiming the past through memory.