Review: ‘Chengdu, I Love You’

Pic is of interest to Asian specialists.

The bloody carcass of a planned three-part movie set around Sichuan’s provincial capital (and its earthquake traumas), “Chengdu, I Love You” hobbles onscreen minus one leg in unmarketable condition. Pic is of interest to Asian specialists for its OK episode helmed by Hong Kong-based Fruit Chan but is capsized by a laughably inept opening seg by mainland rock idol Cui Jian.

Cui’s chaotic “2029,” set in a future of 3-D cell-phone messaging, and drawing parallels between martial arts and rock music, centers on a kung fu artist (Huang Xuan) and mystery babe (Tan Weiwei), looking for each other 21 years after they were both trapped as kids in the 2008 earthquake. Chan’s “1976,” set in a traditional teahouse at the end of the Cultural Revolution, is a slim but well-made/played vignette about a waitress (Taiwan’s Anya Wu, graceful but feisty), who’s enamored of the long-stemmed teapot-pouring technique of Crazy Zhao (Guo Tao, manic), who later denounces her. Planned middle seg, “2008,” helmed by South Korea’s Hur Jin-ho (“Happiness”) and starring Jeong Woo-seong and Gao Yuanyuan, is reportedly being made as a stand-alone feature.

Chengdu, I Love You

China

Production

A Zonbo Media production. (International sales: Zonbo, Beijing.) Produced by Chen Weiming.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Lin Huaquan; editor, Zhou Xinxia. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (closer, noncompeting), Sept. 11, 2009. Original title: Chengdu wo ai ni. Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 79 MIN. 2029 Directed by Cui Jian. Screenplay, Cui, Wang Hongfan. Music, Cui; art director, Fu Dong; costume designer, Xie Meng. Running time: 31 MIN.

With

Huang Xuan, Tan Weiwei. 1976 Directed, written by Fruit Chan. Music, Ni Ni, Zheng Dawei; art director, Lu Dong; costume designer, Qian Zhijuan. Running time: 45 MIN. With: Guo Tao, Anya Wu.

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