This insightful, acidic pic follows the fortunes and misfortunes of two intelligent and tallented women from mainland China who relocate to Toronto. Neatly structured and finely limned film should find niche bookings in cities with Chinese communities, and could also be in demand on the fest circuit.
Writers and directors Yan Cui and Qi Chang take a sardonic look at life in a Westernized city wehere everyone seems to be on the make and where it’s almost impossible not to be cheated and betrayed. Men, whether Chinese or Western, are seen to be utterly untrustworthy, and, as the very opening sequence suggests, women may decide that the company of other women is a preferable option to a hetero lifestyle.
Jessie (Diana Peng) and Camille (Shirley Cui) arrive in Canada on the same flight from Beijing, but it’s a while before they actually meet. Jessie, a beauteous young student, is whisked off to a university dorm by a Chinese professor, Li, who almost immediately seduces her, though he turns out to be married. Unable to pay the rent, she later moves in with the sympathetic David; but he, too, exploits her, taking advantage of his elderly boss’s infatuation with her to improve his own prospects.
Camille, meanwhile, discovers that her husband was killed driving to meet her at the airport; she also finds out that he planned to leave her for another woman. She’s taken in by seemingly kindly Tony, a Westerner, who marries her when she gets pregnant, but who doesn’t stop seeing other women. Camille, a doctor back home, eventually manages to fulfill her desire to own a Chinese herb emporium, but discovers that yet another relationship, with the same Professor Li who seduced Jessie, is doomed to failure.
Peng and Cui are fine as the two put-upon femmes who eventually turn to one another for love and happiness. The male characters are mostly sterotyped, and are without exception useless or exploitative.
The low-budgeter makes good use of a variety of Toronto locations as backdrop to this tale of disappointment, frustration and, finally, it’s suggested, true love. Pic’s les bian is neatly understated. Production values are all fine.