This film seems to have garnered very little in the way of attention here in the States. In fact, if you are reading this, you and I may be the only ones who ever do.
I am telling far more about the plot than I would ordinarily because of the obscurity of this film. Therefore the spoiler warning is required.
Love Trilogy is about three couples who are touring Kunming in Yunnan province, China. One couple has been married for seven years, and is very strapped for funds. They are disillusioned, bitter, and quarrelsome. The husband (Francis Ng) drives a cab for a living, and has just lost his permit for falling asleep at the wheel due to exhaustion. The opening scene is shot through the windshield of his weaving cab, and at first seems funny. It isn't.
In spite of their money troubles the couple embarks on the journey which they've already paid for, arguing every inch of the way. Divorce is a constant possibility, and comes up during each quarrel.
The second of the couples has just recently married, and don't seem to have much in common. The wife, now pregnant, dreads telling her husband, who wants to be free, and does not want children. They too argue a great deal during this, their honeymoon trip.
The third couple is engaged to be married. They are as different from each other as night and day. The young man, Jino, played by Oh Ji-ho, is an idealist who dreams of visiting Shangri La, a place he's read about in the novel of that name. His fiancée has no interest in going there. He is a romantic egalitarian; she is rather shallow, materialistic, and snobbish.
The three couples are mainly ships passing in the night.... You see them collectively in some scenes but they are merely in the same place at the same time, not especially interacting with each other, though they ultimately do to a degree.
There is a scene where the three men meet in a bar, and engage in a conversation about women, with the two Chinese husbands likening women to Godzilla. It's one of the very funny scenes, with Jino, a Korean, recognizing the name, Godzilla, then making wild faces to describe him since he doesn't speak Chinese.
Oh Ji Ho makes great faces. He's an incredibly handsome man, therefore one mightn't expect such antic performances, but he hasn't let me down yet.
Love Trilogy has been taken to task on the point that the arguments between the couples are perpetual, and nasty. The critics grow weary of this. Being a cynic and highly experienced in the rough side of life, I see it as fairly natural behavior from people under the gun of their circumstances. Let's call Love Trilogy Cinema verite. That gives it permission to tell the truth.
Many of the Asian movies I've seen since becoming a victim of their allure have sucker-punched me in the solar plexus. This is one of them. The young wife wishes to end her pregnancy, and takes a dangerous dose of herbal medicine. The ensuing scenes left me wrung out and crying.
The actors do a phenomenal job often of conveying much distress. With or without reading the subtitles; which is hard to do with tears in your eyes; you understand every emotion you're seeing portrayed. That's what movies are about. They are showing us something. They make us laugh, or weep, or become furious. We root for the good guys, and if a villain is charming enough, for him too.
It's entertainment. Love Trilogy made me laugh, and cry, and get angry, and cheer all the characters on at the end. Jino winds up with another woman, who fits his life like a hand in a glove, as does he for her, and all is well.
I definitely recommend this movie. Don't listen to the critics, me included. Just see it. It is NOT a waste of time.
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