Saturday, December 24, 2005

A right song and dance

Perhaps Love director Peter Chan mixes music and drama to great effect. Review by Elaine Chan - Saturday, December 10, 2005

Director Peter Chan is unashamedly pitching Perhaps Love at the international market.

The film is an attractive package that's certainly watchable, offering a mix of Broadway and Bollywood-style fare with Chan's very own brand of love story, and a star-studded international cast.

Mimicking the red curtain style of Moulin Rouge, the opening features colorful umbrellas in a dance choreographed by Bollywood's Farrah Khan.


This is a movie within a movie. Actor Lin Jian-dong (Takeshi Kaneshiro) arrives in Shanghai from Hong Kong to star in a musical by reknowned director Nie Wen (Jacky Cheung) with co-star Sun Na (Zhou Xun), an old flame from his days at Beijing Film Academy when she was a showgirl at a Sanlitun (Beijing's Lan Kwai Fong) bar.

The subplot focuses on an amnesiac female circus performer who is dating the circus owner. Lin's character comes along and restores her memory, as Lin and Sun rekindle their real-life romance. Nie, the circus owner, is unaware that his two stars had been lovers.

It's the magical Peter Chan love triangle formula, orchestrated by veteran screenwriter Raymond To and Aubrey Lam.

Love is a subject that Chan is quite familiar with and in most of his films the plot is driven by an ambitious woman with big dreams for herself (Zhou in this film and Maggie Cheung in Comrades, Almost a Love Story).

Chan's characters are often full of doubt about themselves and their relationships, which often begin with utility rather than love.

Rather than telling the love stories in his usual subtle and intimate style, Chan this time lets his characters break into song and dance. This transformation is brilliant and the film has received 18 million yuan (HK$17.28 million) in box office earnings since it opened in cinemas in the mainland on December 1.

The most notable performance comes from Zhou Xun. She is a combination of Gong Li's elegance and Shu Qi's charms, a versatile actress, convincing in her role.

The most memorable scene takes place in a hotel swimming pool, in which the lovesick Kaneshiro spends his sleepless nights fully dressed. The best kiss also takes place here - underwater.

Also noteworthy is the hearty singing from Jacky Cheung, not to mention, Ji Jin-hee's great looks and the breathtaking circus performances.

Perhaps Love has been nominated for the 2006 foreign film Oscar as Hong Kong's entry.


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