The movie was shot in 1998 by Chen Kou-Fu. The next year the movie was presented at the Cannes Festival. The story described in the movie, in my opinion, is rather banal. There is a woman who is rather busy and does not have time for her personal life. However, she is at that very age when everybody around her has a family. She decided to solve the problem with a partner by simply posting an ad in a newspaper. Soon she gets more than a hundred calls. The “potential” partners are rather strange: beginning with a restaurant manager who adores shoes and ending with a strange man with his mother. On the other hand, this movie is rather life true. The director wanted to show that women nowadays are trying to survive among strange men and find that one, who will love them with all the disadvantages.
The peculiarity of the movie is that the director pays much attention to the main character’s thoughts and feelings. Another peculiarity of the movie is that the director tends to use long shots. Longs shots are aimed on showing the change of emotions on a character’s face or the fast change of scenery. However, Chen Kou-Fu used long shots to give the main character some time to think, to evaluate the situation. Moreover, the director used many portrait scenes, which show characters’ feelings and emotions. Such techniques help a viewer move along with what happens on the screen, follow the director’s thoughts. The movie itself is slow, there is no sharp scenes or action scenes. This allows viewers to relax and follow the director. Chen Kou-Fu made a good movie, using all the possible techniques. Besides, the director made a rather sensitive movie having used many long shots.
I have already mentioned that the story, the movie is based on, is rather banal. On the other hand, I have to agree that the director made it unique and authentic. The point is that the director used longs shots as the main technique. The movie is rather sensual. When watching it, I was feeling for the main character. Besides, I should mention that the idea behind this movie is far from being banal. In my opinion, this movie shows that we are living in the world of stereotypes. Du did not intend to have children and a husband. She posted that ad in the newspaper only because she felt that at the age of thirty one she should have had a family. The point is that Du went out with all those strange men only because the society made her doing so.
Cape No 7
Cape number 7 is a romantic comedy melodrama Taiwanese director Wei Desheng, filmed in 2008. The movie was nominated twice and won ten prizes on different Asian movie festivals. In the 1940s, the end of the era of occupation of Taiwan, a teacher arrives to a southern city. Then he falls in love with a Japanese girl Tomoko Kojima. When Taiwan becomes part of China and the teacher has to go back to Japan, he writes he seven letters along his way. 60 years later, a young rock musician Aga, who was forced to work at the post office, finds a stack of old unsent letters, of which there are seven letters of a teacher. Address (Cape number 7, the district Kosyun, Prefecture Takao) specified by the sender, does not longer exist. Rock musician gathers a band for a concert. To make it, a Japanese model girl is sent to him. Later on he tries to have relationship with this girl. The girl helps him to find a destination, Tomoko. Japanese woman gets a call to return to their homeland, breaking their love. Aga performs the concert and Tomoko Kojima receives the letters.
This movie contains more action scenes than the previous one. The director tends to use short shots and not focus his attention much on facial expression of the actors. On the other hand, there is almost no stable shots: the camera is moving all the time. One may say that this helps a viewer get the feeling of presence. I would disagree. In my opinion, such short fast shots gives the feelings of being in a hurry. It seems that the director had a long script and only an hour and a half to express everything. Besides, the director used over shoulder track in shots. In my opinion, such shots are rather significant. When taking such shots, the director allows a viewer peep at a character. It seems to a viewer that he or she is a real participant of a story.
Personally I did not like the movie. Unlike the previous film, the story described in Cape No 7 is not banal. On the contrary, I must admit that this movie is heartless. I prefer it when a director uses long shots and show characters’ emotions. In this movie, it was rather difficult to see the ones. Hence, I state that the movie Cape No 7 cannot be called one of the best movies in Taiwan. However, it is only the matter of choice.
Both movies have something in common. First, the main idea of them is the love theme. However, the first movie is focused on the topic of broken dreams and the second one is focused on the issue of urban culture, love of two young people nowadays. In my opinion, the theme of broken dreams in The Personal is better revealed. The director expressed all the feelings of Du, her emotions and worries. When speaking about space, Du takes almost all space in the movie whereas Aga is the central character but the action does not fully focus on him. Moreover, music plays a great, significant role in the movies. Music expresses characters’ feelings, action in the movies. Both of the movies express transnational love. On the contrary, the directors had different points of views on this issue. In the first movie, the director does not believe in such love and this is seen by Du’s attitude to some of her probable partners. On the other hand, Wei Desheng showed that transnational love exists and it existed in the last century as well. Both movies are global competitive. However, I must admit that The Personal was presented to the world society much earlier than Cape No 7. The second movie was noted only in Asia.
When speaking about these two movies, one should notice that they are totally different, although they have a lot in common (it has been mentioned above). First, the topic of relationship between men and women is shown from different angles: in the first movie Du uses men in her own interests: she needs to find the one who will become her life partner. On the contrary, in the second movie the director showed pure feelings of two young people from different countries. Another difference between both movies is such cultural phenomena as voices from the margin. The director does not reveal this topic in the first movie. On the contrary, Wei Desheng showed the phenomena clearly: both stories in the movie are about love between a man from Taiwan and a girl from Japan. Besides, the point is not about love, it is more about the way the director shot his movie. Cape No 7 was shot in the European or even American style: there is action, love between two people who could not be together and a story from the past that does not allow the young people live happily nowadays. In my opinion, The Personal is much of Taiwanese movie than Cape No 7.