|Lanse da men 2002 Taiwan Blue Gate Crossing|
It took me a few minutes to warm up to the characters, but only a few. We meet the two girls first, a girly girl who seems to be in control, and a brooding follower. Not much to go on with that. Girly girl spots sensitive boy and wants him but insists that brooding girl act as the go-between. The film focuses on the friendship that develops between brooding girl and sensitive boy after that. Brooding girl becomes razor-sharp, adorably-mixed-up-commando-teen when paired with sensitive boy—who falls in love with her.
This film (the director?) does a remarkable job of capturing teens as they are: insecure and passionate; as easily hurt as they are to fall in love. They provoke each other without knowing why and then act like it never happened. One of the many highlights of this film is when the boy and girl, having run out of verbal ammunition, begin a shoving match. It goes on for some time and then they stop. They talk again. The director cuts to a scene of the two of them straightening up their surroundings together. He makes many decisions like that to keep us focused on the big picture: shit happens, and then something else happens. There's no stopping it.
I have to point out that watching this Taiwanese film with English subtitles added quite a bit to the adorableness of it. For example, after brooding girl sets up sensitive boy with girly girl, who knows he likes brooding girl, (you have to see the film to see how that happens), sensitive boy walks girly girl home. After an uncomfortably done good-bye, girly girl calls out after sensitive boy as he's about to mount his bicycle and says: "Zhang Shihao, (pause) can you date with me?" I don't know exactly what was said in Taiwanese, but that odd translation seemed to capture the moment perfectly.
I smiled from ear to ear while watching this movie from the time sensitive boy was introduced until the very end. This is an exceptionally well done film, off-the-charts-delightful.
Summary: An is-she-or-isn't-she gay comedy focused on a Taiwanese teen, the boy she might like, and the girl she may love.
The film stars Lun-Mei Guey as Kerou, a sullen teenager who tries to act as a go-between when her shy friend Yuezhen (Shu-Hui Liang) falls in love with Zhang (Bo-Lin Chen). Kerou approaches Zhang on her friend's behalf, but the boy likes Kerou instead and doesn't want to hear about Yuezhen. As Zhang is the popular kid at school -- a swimmer with an easy way about him -- Kerou thinks she should be happy, but she's not. She is beginning to realize she has lesbian feelings for her friend Yuezhen.
The film has been well-received critically. Dennis Lim, in a review for the Village Voice, observed the film's "meticulous framing and haunting use of repeated motifs" reflects the influence of Taiwanese New Wave directors Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang. The Portland Mercury described the film as "a modern-day Chinese lesbo twist on the old Cyrano story" that "treads new territory in the teen coming of age drama realm," praising Yee's "haiku-like directorial lyricism."