Two young women reawaken a dormant love for each other in “Spider Lilies,” a relative leap into the bigtime for Taiwanese documaker and lesbian filmer Zero Chou, here using two name leads for the first time. Alas, Chou’s scripting abilities and her weakness for dreamy whimsy show only a marginal concomitant upgrade, making this one strictly for the faithful.
Striking, Macau-born Isabella Leong (“Isabella,” “Diary”) plays half-Japanese Takeko, aka Bamboo, owner of a Taipei tattoo parlor that’s visited by cutesy teenager Jade (Taiwanese singer-TV thesp Rainie Yang). Jade wants a spider-lily tattoo like one on Takeko’s wall (and arm) but latter is mysteriously reticent. Visiting Jade’s Web site, Takeko finds she’s actually a cybersex webcam girl; what she doesn’t realize initially is they knew each other 10 years ago, when Jade, then 9 years old, had a crush on her. Mixing innocence and sexuality, countryside flashbacks are pic’s best parts; rest is largely Jade teasing her webcam, Takeko struggling with sundry guilt, and an amateurish subplot about a shy Internet cop (Kris Shie). Leong carries herself with dignity but pic is thin, often awkward fare. Original title means “Tattoo.”