Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tok Sik (Colour Blossoms)

I will begin by reminding you all that Yonfan used to be a fashion photographer that now writes and directs films and as in 2001 Youyuan Jing Meng (Peony Pavillion) this 2004 movie has breathtaking cinematography; but this time he creates a mosaic of outstandingly beautiful full color photographs thanks to the use of many angular takes, fantastic use of light, superb framing with still and handheld cameras and many other uses of everything that is available to create great moving pictures. Wow! I was exhausted by the end of the movie, as truly is an interminable succession of one incredible photo after the other.

As much as I can tell you about the amazing aesthetic visual aspects of this movie I will always be short as also includes a fantastic cast of actors/models that look just as beautiful as the sets where the scenes occur. You have here Chinese beauty, Teresa Cheung, male Japanese model, Sho, gorgeous Korean cult-icon, Ha Ri-su and playing an eccentric Japanese diva is eccentric Japanese diva Keiko Matsuzaka (is like playing herself or as mentioned in the scarce dialogue, playing Yonfan version of Joan Crawford or Sophia Loren).

Then a music score that will blow your mind with some amazing music that to my ears sounded at some moments medieval, other religious and most of all majestic outstandingly complements the visuals. If only I could find the CD with the amazing music!

Yes the movie is outstanding, but unfortunately Yonfan does not have the same abilities when it comes to storytelling. Is not that you wont be able to understand the plot, is that you will have a hard time as this movie has no time and moves from past to present with no visible clues. At the end you will be able to figure out that the fabulous apartment acts like a time portal that transports you to a dimension where present characters interact with past characters.

The plot is about love, passion, desire and you will be able to see all the characters interacting with each other in many forms of human sexuality that include a brief lesbian moment, a brief gay moment, some passionate man/woman sex and some strong S&M scenes. My sarcastic version of the story is that it tells about how risky is the Real Estate business and you always know what happens when you’re dealing with ghosts and fall in love with one.

But who cares about the plot when you are able to see breathtaking images one after the other? Not me as with my wild imagination I can create a better story when the movie is outstandingly good but with a weak story. Besides as mentioned in the dialogue at the beginning of the movie when inconsequentially describing the fabulous apartment (think that the scarce dialogue mainly serves to prepare the viewer about the visuals), this movie has many symbols and a style that suggest the European cinema of many well known filmmakers like Antonioni, Godard and others.

The movie has nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design and Make Up, Original Film score and Best New Artist for Teresa Cheung at the 2005 Hong Kong Film Awards, as well as other wins and nominations in other awards.

Absolutely not for all audiences you have to enjoy movies with great visuals, great music score and little story, all with the Yonfan peculiar style that at moments resembles European cinema.


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