Review: ‘Love at 7-11’

The dramatic tab is pretty low in "Love at 7-11," another Taiwanese study of repressed emotions that flattens the audience along with the characters. Adapting two popular Internet novels, helmer Teng Yung-shing weaves potentially interesting tales of love but strains out any viewer involvement through unnecessarily slow, mannered direction.

The dramatic tab is pretty low in “Love at 7-11,” another Taiwanese study of repressed emotions that flattens the audience along with the characters. Adapting two popular Internet novels (later published in book form), debuting helmer Teng Yung-shing weaves potentially interesting tales of love but strains out any viewer involvement through unnecessarily slow, mannered direction. Scattered fest dates are pic’s best hope.

Chang Hsiao-feng (striking newcomer Ko Huan-ju) starts a new life in a Taipei convenience store after splitting with b.f. Pan Yu (Julius Jay Miao), a criminal bum. She becomes gradually intrigued by composer-cum-documaker Tsai (real-life musician Huang Pin-yuan) who regularly comes in to buy a carton of milk, though Pan’s reappearance scuppers any romance. Their story is crosscut with a growing friendship in another city, Tainan, between Chih (Wu Ke-chun) and Japanese geisha-turned-language student Ameko (Ayako Washitake), both of whom withhold their true feelings. Perfs are OK and tech credits good, but helmer Teng further muddies the focus by stirring in DV, docu-like footage of a real-life geisha, Miss Kikuliu, plying her lonely profession in Kyoto.

Love at 7-11

Taiwan

Production

A Sparkle Films production. (International sales: Taiwan Film Centre, Taipei.) Produced by Teng Yung-shing, Wang Wei-ming. Executive producer, Wang. Directed, written by Teng Yung-shing, based on the Internet novels "Love at 7-Eleven" ("7-Eleven zhi lian") and "Raincoat" ("Yuyi") by Tsai Chih-heng.

Crew

Camera (color), Chen Huai-en; editor, Liao Ching-sung; music, Huang Pin-yuan; art director, Yang Chuan-shin. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (A Window on Asian Cinema), Nov. 22, 2002. Mandarin, English & Japanese dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Huang Pin-yuan, Ko Huan-ju, Wu Ke-chun, Ayako Washitake, Julius Jay Miao, Miss Kikuliu.
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