This is not a movie if you are looking for perfection. Whether in the story, or technically. Instead, watch it only for the experimentalism that the director boldly explored.
There are many technical faults of the movie. Mainly those of the minimal basics. I cringed a couple of times at the jumps and the continuity of the shots.
The story was simple. Gao Ju (Xia Yu) and Zhang Yang (Pu Shu) were best of friends, but they fall in love with Huanzi (Zhou Xun). Huanzi loves both of them and thus they formed an unbalanced trinity. A simple promise not to meet ever again after college ended up in disaster when Gao cannot resist wooing Huanzi again. The subplots of the story, linking the three in a cycle was refreshing, but could have been dealt with alot better. In fact, the whole story could have been dealt with alot better.
What saved the movie was the way the thought put in to the style of the film. Firstly, it is a non-linear story, from the start to the end of the movie, you would not know when in time it was. Though confusing right to the end, it was very well done, because i believe that time was not an important factor in the equation anyway. The other thing that impressed me was the use of mannequins. I was stunned at first when i saw the mannequins and the actors acted alongside them as if they were real people, then i realise that the mannequins were stand-ins for the extras. I thought it was such an innovative way to make a statement. That people surrounding us that were unimportant were as good as mannequins because they don mean much to us anyway. The other scene that strucks me is the house of Huanzi is situated in an open meadow with only a bed, a door, and a decorated tree. It is up to the individual to comprehend why this is so, but from what i see, i believe it was to provide us with a glimpse of Huanzi's personal life, but not showing anything at all.
Zhou did a great job as Huanzi, innocence-a-plenty during the before, and nonchalance with a tinct of longing in the after, thus providing us with a great contrast of time. Xia was very entertaining, basically is the comic relief of the movie. He brings a smile to your lips without being the clown. Pu on the other hand, is convincing as the solemn one, the punk, the bad boy that all girls love.
Overall, this is a very amateurish production, with a strong cast and interesting experimental effects to save it. I would suggest watching it, not for the movie itself, but for what the director is trying to express in it.
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