Review: ‘Blue Cha-Cha’

A quietly introspective portrait of a Taiwanese woman with no fixed goals in life, "Blue Cha-Cha" goes on at least a reel too long but has a distinctive feel for character and place that sets it slightly apart from most other auteurist essays from the island. Third feature by director Cheng Wen-tang is his most proficient yet, and scattered fest dates look likely.

A quietly introspective portrait of a Taiwanese woman with no fixed goals in life, “Blue Cha-Cha” goes on at least a reel too long but has a distinctive feel for character and place that sets it slightly apart from most other auteurist essays from the island. Third feature by director Cheng Wen-tang (“Somewhere Over the Dreamland”) is his most proficient yet, and scattered fest dates look likely.

After a spell in jail, thirtysomething Pei-yu (singer Tarcy Su), stays in the southern port of Kaohsiung with An-an (vet Lu Yi-ching, “The Missing”), a tough, older woman who runs a girly bar. Heartbroken when a businessman (Leon Dai) drops her after a (paid) one-night stand, Pei-yu is later seduced by the gentler Hao (Lee Wei), her young supervisor at a computer factory. As a trusting, totally instinctive woman who’s a pushover for men, Su is charismatic, even though the script — as is typical for helmer Cheng — never backgrounds her or any other characters. Drifting, metaphysical tone is echoed by the port setting, with constant water traffic evocatively captured by lenser Lin Cheng-ying. Chinese title means “Deep Sea.”

Blue Cha-Cha

Taiwan

Production

A Green Light Film production. (International sales: Green Light, Taipei, Taiwan.) Produced by Yang Chi-yung, Huang Hao-jie. Executive producers, Swen Ching, Cheng Wen-tang. Directed by Cheng Wen-tang. Screenplay, Cheng Wen-tang, Cheng Ching-feng.

Crew

Camera (color), Lin Cheng-ying; editor, Lei Chen-ching; music, Cincin Lee; art director, Tai Te-wei. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (A Window on Asian Cinema), Oct. 13, 2005. Mandarin, Hokkien dialogue. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Tarcy Su, Lee Wei, Lu Yi-ching, Leon Dai, Huang Wu-shan, Wu Chia-wei, Wen Chi-hsing.
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