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A group of close friends who attend a private school, and they all have a debilitating crush on the sunny star pupil, Shen Jiayi. The only member of the group who claims not to is Ke Jingteng, but he ends up love her as well.
It was delightful to see the revival of Taiwanese Cinema in these couple of years, but I have to say regretfully that there weren't many which still left me strong aftertastes a few months later. The problem is that I can't recall if there was any sincerity in the storytelling. Mostly, they felt like products which tended to arouse the sympathy of the audience through demonstrating the tragedies in the present society. They probably needed to be known, but the intentional purpose itself sadly made the products feel cheesy. I really hate to judge films from my own country, especially as a heavy movie buff, but I feel that I should express how I truly feel instead of only telling the good sides.
However, this debut by the new filmmaker Hou Chi-Jan feels a lot different. The producer Zoë Chun-Jung Chen, the screenwriters Hou and Kelly Yuan-Ling Yang are all first-timers. Only the film editor Liao Ching-Song and the sound engineer Tu Du-Che are the veterans from the Taiwanese Cinema New Wave in the 80's. So this is a nearly new-blood creativity that I was happy to see, and it was even beyond my expectations.
The story is about a girl meets a boy on a ship to the satellite island of Taiwan called Jin- Men(means Golden Gate literally), but it's not just a love story as it appears to be. When something strange happens, the girl was left along with the boy and an Indian who comes out of nowhere in the ship. As she feels like being stuck in a nightmare, the boy confirmed it. So what happened beforehand or will happen afterward start to be revealed interactively.
Easily, the mysterious and tense scene in the ship reminded me of David Lynch, and it makes perfect sense since this is a story intensively related to dreams. The sudden cuts and distant shots also reminded me of the new Palme d'Or Thai director Weerasethakul. Thankfully, it's not a rough imitating which it could easily turn out to be, but an idea that borrowed from the skills and still kept the filmmakers' creativity. Most of all, I was very glad to feel the earnestness I could hardly get from the new films of my own country. Even it has no big scales like a few other big hits do, it simply surpasses them with this important fact.
Dreams have always been something filmmakers are fascinated about but not really often seen in Taiwanese films. After being highly noted by the realism built up by veterans such as Edward Yang and Hou Hsiou-Hsien, who notably is the executive producer of the film, that inherited the Italian masters like De Sica and Rossellini, I believe it's about time to transfer the homage to the other equally divine Italian masters like Fellini and Antonioni and show the world the diversity of Taiwanese Cinema. It's neither the best Taiwanese film nor a perfect film having said that, but it's surely a huge first step.
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