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|Index||11 reviews in total|
Do you remember what you have done when you are 17? If it is similar to
remembered mine, then this movie would invoke alot of memories. Isn't
like that: simple, un-eventful, yet confusing and full of
I applaud the way the director handled this coming-of-age movie. He managed to touch a really heavy topic like homosexuality without throwing it into our face. He had managed to keep everything simple, with no dramatic ups and downs, but accurately reflect the lives of 17 year olds. The lead characters may seem too sweet and innocent, but pretty accurate to people in Asia.
To keep the movie real, the director went to the streets and got the male lead Chen Bo-lin (Zhang Shi Hao) and the female lead Gui Lun Mei (Meng Ke Rou) and all of the other cast. And knowing that they were all first time actors really lifts up the mood of the movie. I say they did a great job. By the way, the name 'Meng Ke Rou' means 'fierce subdue the gentle' (although not the exact words, the pronunciation is similar), which to me is a subtle undertext to her character. The biggest applause goes to Gui who did a great job portraying in Meng's confusion and awkwardness, and her struggle to conform to society's standards.
Watch the movie for its simplicity, if you are looking for a plot heavy, technically driven movie, this is the wrong place. One of my fave movies of all times.
Upon seeing it at the AFI Fest, Yee Chin-yen's "Blue Gate Crossing"
became one of my favorite pictures of 2003.
The premise is very simple, and yet it is one of those about which the less is said, the better. Simply put, it examines the effect on two girls, best friends in high school, when one has a crush from afar on a boy, and the other actually starts talking to him. The writing is delicate, the performances completely natural and real. Even the look of the movie -- echoing Wong Kar-Wai's elegantly composed, florescent-lit romances -- is stylish without being over-stylized. The narrative is never forced, and yet the ground covered encompasses the awkwardness of a first kiss, the vagaries of sexual orientation, the safety of fantasy over reality, and the nature of friendship -- both the kinds that just happen and those that come about because they've been earned. Finally, the last minute of this movie made a mess of me, I haven't gushed so hard since "Whale Rider."
I went to see this by chance one wet afternoon after work and came out
feeling great. It's a quirky little gem that carries you along and
reminds you of the innocence and emotions you felt as a teenager. It
does this in a manner that is totally authentic to the culture from
which it comes and reminds us of our own cultures loss of identity.
The male character is interesting as he is initially manipulated as a naive male teen by the lead female (who is lesbian), but later metamorphosis's into a strong and true friend who we could all use. I loved the bit where they sit on their bicycles next to each other in the traffic and watch each others faces in between inching alternatively ahead of each other.
Yes, this is a Taiwanese "art film"; and it does explore an old and worn theme - coming of age in high school. However, it does so in a tender, unusual way. Additionally, it tells a teen lesbian awakening, still now quite daring material for film from that part of the world. But, it is a sweet film, which really does not come off as being neither artsy nor gay. The characters are common people, yet sensitive and well developed. They come across as average, normal people one can relate to. In short, this is a little gem: simple, very believable, well told, leaving one full of good feelings at the end.
"A fantastic film about adolescence"
Unfortunately, I doubt many in the U.S. will ever see it. I'm also unsure as to whether U.S. audiences would like it much anyway. I myself loved it - it's very beautiful, one of the best films on that age group I've ever seen.
The story revolves around three teens in a Taipei high school, two girls and a boy. The girls like to think of themselves as BFFs ("best friends forever!") and, like any two best friends, they talk to each other about boys. The third character is the boy one of them likes. The two girls look for him one night and the girl who doesn't like him approaches him to tell him that her girlfriend has a crush on him. The second girl, however, is too nervous and flees the scene. The boy then thinks that the girl who approached him actually likes him but won't say it straight out.
I won't go on with the plot. If I am wrong and it does get a U.S. release, I don't want to be the one who ruins the surprises (I'll let the professional critics do that). Suffice it to say that, unlike American films about high school, Blue Gate Crossing remains simple and honest all the way through. There are no subplots or melodramatic developments. No one gets knocked up or dies in a tragic drag racing accident. We are just left to witness the sweet and beautiful events in the lives of these three characters. The reason that I believe it will never be officially released in the United States is this: it'll seem far too innocent. These kids are meant to be between 16 and 18 years old. For a U.S. audience, their actions and attitudes will seem like those of sixth graders. Perhaps even in Taiwan it will be seen as quaint. One of the film's producers, Peggy Chiao, was present at the screening I attended and she said that the director himself (Yi Chih-yen) was afraid that the film was too sweet. It's really up to 1) distributors and 2) film critics. Let's face it, the first obstacle for U.S. distribution will be nearly impossible to overcome. As for critics, people love to flaunt that critics in this modern day and age are meaningless. That may be true for the latest teen sex comedy, but for foreign films they are of the utmost importance. I am afraid that they will see little but an after school special in Blue Gate Crossing. Let's all hope I'm wrong and that this'll be the biggest foreign hit since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 9/10.
Dreamy, Romantic, Tender. OK We've been given those on the poster. They
are not ones I would use. Instead I'd go with: Adorable, Sweet,
Sensitive, Well-acted, Well-directed, Well-written. It was a JOY to
watch this film.
It took me a few minutes to warm up to the characters, but only a few. We meet the two girls first, a girly-girl who seems to be in control, and a brooding follower. Not much to go on with that. Girly girl spots sensitive boy and wants him, but insists that brooding girl act as the go-between.
The film focuses on the friendship that develops between brooding girl and sensitive boy after that. Brooding girl becomes razor-sharp, adorably mixed up commando teen when paired up with sensitive boy who has fallen in love with her.
This film did a remarkable job of capturing teens as they are: insecure and passionate; as easily hurt as they are to fall in love. They provoke each other without knowing why. One of the many highlights of this film is when the boy and girl, when they've run out of verbal ammunition, begin a shoving match. It goes on for some time and then the director simply cuts to a scene of the two of them straightening up their surroundings together. The director makes many decisions like that to keep us focused on the big picture: (stuff) happens, and then something else happens. There's no stopping it.
I have to point out that watching this Taiwanese film with English subtitles added quite a bit to the adorableness of it. For example, after brooding girl sets up sensitive boy with girly-girl, who knows he likes brooding girl, (you have to see the film to see how that happens), sensitive boy walks girly-girl home. After an uncomfortably done good-bye, girly-girl calls out after sensitive boy as he's about to mount his bicycle and says: "Zhang Shihao, (pause) can you date with me?" I don't know exactly what was said in Taiwanese, but that odd translation seemed to capture the moment perfectly.
I smiled from ear to ear while watching this movie from the time sensitive boy was introduced until the very end. This is an exceptionally well done film.
First of all, if something has to be written about this film, it's
about the poetic way the director talks about teenage problem in Asia.
The story, about a young man and two young girls is really close to the
"2 girls and a boy" type and at the beginning, you can be afraid that
the film would be like a boredom teenage movie, but be confident, it's
not and so go on watching it... The love story is about teenagers who
don't love the right person (the girl who loves her classmate who is
also a girl, who loves a young man, who loves the first girl) and the
thing which makes it interesting is the fact that the story is not
focused on the three people but only on two of them who try to create a
false couple (as their love is not mutual and shared). This couple
transforms itself in a kind of friendship, born from incomprehension.
How sometimes destiny makes us meet some people by chance, those who will be essential to our lives. That's the real topic of this movie. Little by little, the girl, who's afraid to love girls and the guy, who's afraid to be alone start to know each other and to love each other, even if they'll never be a couple. The movie is good because of that way to treat teenage relationships and also by the quality of the image.
The work on image is really really good. Some sequences are quite splendid (like the first sequence or the one with the two main characters on bicycles) and the music is also really good (a simple piano theme). The actors are really incredible and fit absolutely their characters.
The whole charm of the movie lies in the real fragility of teenage relationships and on how life is taken by these characters : complicated, light and sometimes quite incredibly beautiful.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe it's because I had an over-dose of Korean romances in the last few months, it was exhilarating to watch this Taiwanese gem about coming of age, which I found to be exceptionally refreshing.
Very briefly, the story explores the development of the relationship between two high-school kids. She tries to act as the messenger for her best friend who has a crush on him while he is interested rather in her. Then, it gradually comes out that she is troubled by uncertainty of her own sexuality, of whether she is lesbian and in love with her best friend.
During the earlier part of the film, it is easy to be fooled by its apparent simplicity and the nearly moronic dialogue. Then, it gradually becomes evident that what the filmmakers have tried to do is to create a very realistic juvenile world. It is then when the film starts to resonate with experiences that we all had once, some recently, some much longer ago.
Through completely honest depictions, the characters all of a sudden become very alive. We are also touched by the director's attentiveness, in small things such as the girl nearly tripping over a chair on one of the occasions when she on her way out of the house, something that does happen in real life very often. Two scenes I particularly enjoyed (which is probably also many others' choice) are the `shuffle' scene and the telephone call. The first cleverly shows the mental confrontation and subsequent reconciliation of the two in disruption and subsequent re-arranging of some of the chairs in the assembly hall. The second one, at the beach bon fire at night, shows for the first time deeper emotions of the girl as she weeps over words spoken by the boy not heard by the audience.
Behind the superficial simplicity is a great deal of subtlety. The film is open-ended, provoking rather than dictating thoughts, and the ending is delightfully upbeat. In the end, whether this is friendship or love between the two doesn't really matter. With their youthfulness, there will always choices and possibilities.
An amazingly wonderful film to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is mostly Asian films that take me were this lovely low key love
story go. Composed of everyday moments and sentiments. Tempered in tone
of voice and in lighting.
Note: As I grew up on french love drama as "Un coeur en hiver" and the like of it, I used to think of love stories as earth shaking and tragic affairs and longed for just that dark kick.
But lately I think that it is evident that the assuredness that the characters convey in this movie, in being shy and unsure but in being true to this they and the movie convey this: they doesn't exclude me from their universe, their life is like mine. They are like ordinary people, they just do it very beautifully.
For me the story is carried by Meng Kerou's (in a sense not fully completed) coming-out, as a hb-person, process. In comparison to European variants of this theme, and I've seen quite a few this last week, I am truly grateful to the auteurs and actors that the movie is so light, in that it doesn't focus severely on guilt or shame, but on the life and sense of life in its characters.
After seeing it i feel very warm, although not totally hopeful, and kind of wish that I were Kerou in her coolness, sharpness and quiet honesty. See it, and see it again!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first glimpse of this lovely film was through its music video by
Cheer Chen, one of my fav Taiwanese singers, and the footages just
grasped my attention so much that I wanted to catch it for the longest
time. Starring one of the cutest boy actors who were up and coming
during that time, this was another good reason to watch too. But alas,
it actually took me more than a year after the movie was released that
i finally watched it, sadly thru VCD by a good friend.
OK, it's basically about an awkward love triangle story on 3 17 yr-old kids ,with lesbian elements in it to add to the flavour. But if you look at it in a different angle, it's just a pretty innocent love story and the chemistry between the 2 main leads are the main factor that keeps the attention going. With the boy's straightforwardness and the girl's sexual confusion, it brings you back to school days where crushes are aplenty and some peculiar actions done by you or others that are just not explainable at all.
There are some classic lines and performances by the 2 leads which are unforgettable and the story engages our attention with the tensions and struggles we face while growing up, lots of questions nobody can answer and lots of emotions waiting to explode out from our young minds. The music is great too with a sort of sorrowful touch to match the teens' loss, in terms of love, innocence and youth.
A simple story beautifully shot and strongly cast leads, makes it an unforgettable piece of work and lastly, I'll end with the classic line from the film 'If one day you start liking guys, please let me be the first one to know'. Sigh! So sweet.
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