Review: ‘Blue Fire’

Somewhere between callow existential angst and softcore porn, "Blue Fire" looks better than it sounds; Chia Hui Gao, experimental short film and video director, obviously feels more at home composing for the camera than she does directing actors or writing. Even beyond the stilted dialogue and amateurish thesping, film's slender premise and draggy, attenuated action can't support a moody tone poem of even its modest 67-minute length. Pic's strong suit, its surprisingly natural sex scenes and unself-conscious nudity, probably prohibit public TV forums, while its lack of both prurience and plot effectively nixes most adult cable play.

Somewhere between callow existential angst and softcore porn, “Blue Fire” looks better than it sounds; Chia Hui Gao, experimental short film and video director, obviously feels more at home composing for the camera than she does directing actors or writing. Even beyond the stilted dialogue and amateurish thesping, film’s slender premise and draggy, attenuated action can’t support a moody tone poem of even its modest 67-minute length. Pic’s strong suit, its surprisingly natural sex scenes and unself-conscious nudity, probably prohibit public TV forums, while its lack of both prurience and plot effectively nixes most adult cable play.

Jack, depressed over his girlfriend’s marriage to another, moons around Chinatown, making deliveries on his bicycle when he’s not following chicks who look like his ex, masturbating to her memory, or squatting mournfully by an unknown Chinese girl’s grave. Sexually attracted but morally repulsed by the hooker next door, he sleeps with her a couple of times, and the mismatched couple establishes a fragile prickly truce in bed. Once outside the sheets, however, they seem fated to inflict pain upon one another, with weapons escalating from words to roses to Mace.

Blue Fire

Production

Produced by Chia Hui Gao, Olivier Janin, Michael Wong. Executive producer, Jay Chen. Directed, written by Chia Hui Gao.

Crew

Camera (color, Super 16mm-to-digital beta), Mitch Gross; editors, Gao, Michael A. Wong; music, Winfried Kraus; sound Suzie Hollander. Reviewed on videocassette at Asian American Film Festival, New York, July 25, 2002. English, Chinese dialogue. Running time: 67 MIN.

With

Johnny Kwon, Victoria Linchon, Jackson Ning.
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