Nie Wen is a Mainland director who decides to make a film musical starring his Mainland girlfriend Sun Na and Hong Kong actor Lin Jian-dong. Unknown to him, Sun has met Lin before ten years ago when she was a cabaret singer in Beijing. The two had a relationship together then, when Lin was a film student. Ten years later, now a huge movie star, Sun refuses to acknowledge they have met before. Nie plans his musical, which includes a plot where a girl loses her memory and comes to live with a circus troupe. Sun plays the amnesiac girl and Lin her former boyfriend who tries to revive her memories. As the shooting of the movie starts, reel life and real life overlap. Lin tries desperately to win back Sun's lost love, while Nie discovers their past romance. Nie himself plays the role of the obsessive circus owner in the musical, who is involved in a love triangle. Just like in real life, he has Lin as his rival.Written by
I love musicals.. somehow I have doubts for this one.
I expected to see a musical, albeit one without any plots. Musicals are born that way, actors sing to what they suddenly feel like. If you look for a plot in a musical, you're going into the wrong movie.
However, this film is.. I can't describe really what it is. It's a musical, yes, and there's a story. I didn't like the way the music is performed in the movie, though. They depended too much on the play-within-play idea to present the music. All the musical performances happened within the 'film' that the three characters were involved in. You can see that whenever the characters are singing, they are doing it in the 'film', and not in the real life situation. I was expecting a performance to come out from the feeling of that character - like Chicago, when Roxie feels like it, she would suddenly sing to the tune 'Roxie Hart' - of course then the song "All That Jazz" is still done in a 'performance' within the movie. In fact, Tsai MingLiang's The Wayward Cloud, sex and other things aside, would make a better musical - the leads would suddenly change clothings and sing whenever they feel like it.
Am i making sense here? Instead of that sort of thing, I wish that the characters would just sing when they're happy (like that scene in "Singing in the Rain") or when they feel sad, and not doing it because the characters are 'in a movie set'. It just takes the notion of Musical away.
Yes, there is a plot, probably better than other musicals, but then the plot is not strong enough on its own. The music is great, at times touching. Jacky Cheung is an amazing singer, and I didn't know Takeshi could sing that well either (plus good looking and can speak canto, oh my..) The slow love songs are the most beautiful. The cinematography are obviously beautiful and carefully arranged. There are many dancing scenes that are nicely choreographed (except that I wished the singers would dance with the background dancers too, instead of them singing in the middle, doing nothing). I wished also that there would be more singing done by more characters instead of just Jacky or Takeshi, and the other Korean guy, whats his name..?
Nevertheless, its a really good try by an Asian director trying to go global. I just wished it would be less Broadway and more unique Chinese/Asian (the setting are all 20s Harlem sort of feel).And I also really wished there were more people singing. I like the Korean guy's character because he's exactly what musical is all about - who that person is doesn't matter, what matters is that he sings whenever he wants to!
So I think it's a good watch, just to see how Asia can make a musical, too. Plus, the music/costumes/set/cinematography are just too nice to miss.
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