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Perhaps Love (2005) April 3, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Evidence of Westernisation in China comes no clearer than this, the country’s answer to Moulin Rouge. Perhaps that’s a little unfair. The film owes as much to Hitchcock, Wong Kar-Wai and even It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a strange and ambitious movie, depicting a love triangle between two actors and a director, filming a musical uncomfortably close to reality and hints of a forgotten past between the players. All this played by the hands of a mysterious man, whose ambition is to return ‘lost footage’ to those who have made mistakes ‘editing’ their lives.

It is indeed as confused as it sounds, and a little smirksome when the drama suddenly bursts into song. The mix of fantasy and reality makes for an intriguing concept, but loses its edge as the story ends up much simpler than first implied. The constant questioning of what is memory, the film, the film within the film, or just plain fantasy is somewhat cheapened by the musical interludes, which themselves lose credibility when juxtaposed against the harder-edged drama. Takeshi Kaneshiro displays a disturbing aptitude for heavy breathing and Xun Zhou is extremely bland as the Zhang Ziyi-esque star. A shame, as Suzhou River showed she can be much more interesting.

The film is beautifully shot (by Chris Doyle), though Peter Chan’s direction sways between predictable and show-off. Perhaps Love is more than a little up itself, inflated by the Hollywood musicals from which it is influenced. Though the film is a Chinese-Hong Kong-Malaysian co-production it seems to pander to Western tastes. Nevertheless, it is a striking example of what Chinese cinema has become.

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