In rain-drenched Berlin, the passionate, life-loving young writer Coco seeks the closing chapter of her novel, which begins in the turbulent city of Shanghai at the outset of the 21st ... See full summary »
In rain-drenched Berlin, the passionate, life-loving young writer Coco seeks the closing chapter of her novel, which begins in the turbulent city of Shanghai at the outset of the 21st century. Coco leads an intense life in the lively subculture of the boomtown Shanghai. It revolves around endless nights spent in the Shanghai club and art scene, sex, literature and the writing of her first novel. Her life takes an unexpectedly complicated turn when she suddenly feels attracted to two very opposite men. One is the young Chinese artist Tiantian, who often suffers from melancholy and depression, which he tries in vain to ease through the consumption of marijuana. Soon it emerges that Tiantian is impotent. Coco's love for him thus becomes more platonic and she develops feelings of exceptional tenderness for him. Coco thinks she has found the ideal love in Tiantian. Mark from Berlin is completely different: blond, physically very attractive, he is an internationally active business ... Written by
A fake picture of sino-foreign relationships in Shanghai.
The standard comment on filmatization of novels is that it is nowhere as good as the novel. This is true for this filmatization as well. It is very true to the storyline of the novel, which itself is not a very complex work. However it is interesting as a Chinese point of view on the relationship locals have with expats in town. I, myself, is such an expat in Shanghai through 10 years, so it is exciting to explore the point of view, where we foreign invaders become subjects under scrutiny.
However, it is deeply unsatisfying for any purpose other than illustration the narrative of the novel. We do not gain any useful insights in the psychology involved in the Chinese point of view except from some poeticising of Coco's feelings. Furthermore the Chinese actors converse in English mostly, and when they converse in Chinese it is with a thick Beijing dialect. I ponder whether the rule is that the actors recruited who master the English language use English when together, and when actors recruited locally are involved it changes to Mandarin. This is sloppy. Reminds me of the pre WWII war movies involving multiple nationalities all from Hollywood neighborhoods.
In conclusion this work is a fake. It compels me to compare with a similar Shanghai based movie like Suzhou Creek. If you want a truer picture of Shanghai, that is where to go.
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