太陽再次升起
The Sun Also Rises (2007)


Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 04/09/2008
Summary: swelling and dying, echoing round about, now here, now distant, wild and beautiful...

madness - after a dream, a young widow (zhou yun) buys a pair of shoes. the shoes soon go missing, with the only clue to their whereabouts, a bird who's cry sounds "i know, i know". chasing the bird, she climbs a tree, from which she falls. waking after several days, her son (jaycee chan) mus now cope with her increasingly erratic behaviour...

amour - teacher liang (anthony wong) is popular with the ladies. when he is wrongly accused of molesting a woman at the open air cinema, and subsequently beaten, tang (jiang wen), his lover doctor lin (joan chen) and a secret admirer all try to clear his name. in very different ways...

rifle - tang moves to the country; as he has a rifle, he earns favour by taking a group of children hunting. on one trip, he discovers his wife (kong wei) in a compromising situation, overhearing her declaration that "my husband says my belly is like velvet". when tang bumps into the man, he seems less concerned with the rifle, that is pointed at him, and more puzzled about what velvet is...

dream - two women ride through the desert on camels: one is heavily pregnant, they are both travelling to meet their lovers. one follows the sign toward "the end of the road", the other follows the sign toward "not the end of the road"...

i have always liked jiang wen as an actor and, after seeing 'devils on the doorstep', i liked him as a director, as well. unfortunately, he seems to have the habit of making films which cause him to get him into trouble. after 1994's 'in the heat of the sun' (which i am desperate to see), he was subject to a five year ban from making films. the same thing happened after 'devils on the doorstep' but, thankfully, it looks as if 'the sun also rises' will not be getting him into any trouble.

jiang's return to the director's chair is like watching a dream: four stories slowly weave themselves together, some strange events occur and pass with little comment, whilst others inspire drama. at times there is an element of fantasy, at others the day-to-day mundane; it is rather entrancing though. backing up jiang are highly acclaimed cinematographers, zhao fei and mark lee, whilst joe hisaishi provides the score. the film does look and sound beautiful...

jiang wen is as solid in front of the camera as usual, which should be no surprise, although it would've been interesting to see tony leung, who was originally cast in his role. anthony wong shows his versatility, once more, as a rather confused object of female affections; he is just great. then, joan chen puts in an alluring performance, as a strangely comic femme fatale like figure. jaycee chan also swings the 'can he act / he can't act' arrow back towards 'he can', after milking every ounce of melodrama from himself during 'invisible target'. oh, and i just have to say; why isn't kong wei in more films? i think i'd risk being shot by jiang wen to see if her belly feels like velvet...

i think that this is a film which will divide people; i can see many people writing it off, as artful fancy, as soon as the end credits begin to role. still, having watched it a couple of days ago, being completely engaged and slightly disorientated by it, i still find myself paying a lot of thought to it. maybe i need to watch it again to decide if it's great or just good?