Produced by Han Sanping. Executive producers, Lu Yao, He Ping.
Directed by Wu Tianming. Screenplay, Cheng Tong. Camera (color), Zhao Lei; editor, Zeng Shiwei; music, Zhang Qianyi; art director, Wei Ning. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Cinema), Aug. 28, 1999. Original Mandarin title: Feichang aiqing. Running time: 98 MIN.
With: Yuan Li, Liu Yunlong, Zhu Daoxian, Han Fuyi, Gong Peixin, Tian Chengren , Jiang Yaofen, Mei Lin, Wang Yonggui, Song Banggui, Li Huai, Zhao Yi.
Former Fifth Generation figurehead Wu Tianming, who made such a striking comeback three years ago with “The King of Masks,” takes a more routine, commercial route with “An Unusual Love,” a meller based on the real-life story of a young doctor whose patient nursing rescues her brain-injured husband from the vegetable patch. Though Wu turns in a superior example of the genre, result is strictly local in interest.
Single-handedly carrying the movie on her petite shoulders, actress Yuan Li, who has a presence reminiscent of well-known thesp Pan Hong earlier in her career, plays Shu Xin, who meets cute with fellow high-schooler Tian Li (Liu Yunlong) in the mid-’70s. Eight years later, they marry, but after an accident during a scientific expedition, Tian falls into a coma. Despite advice from relatives and friends, Shu mothballs her life (and sexual needs) to care for him , convinced love will win out. Pic topples into melodrama that most Western auds will find hard to take seriously, but Yuan’s calibrated perf and Wu’s above-average helming (often using direct sound) give it a simple dignity at times. Technically, it’s smooth.