Review: ‘Snowfall in Taipei’

Exquisite cinematography only just papers over the gaping cracks in this fluffy romancer.

Exquisite cinematography only just papers over the gaping cracks in fluffy romancer “Snowfall in Taipei.” Set on Taiwan but directed by Chinese mainlander Huo Jianqi, this yarn about a singer on the run floats like a delicate bauble before the eyes, but never truly engages the mind or heart. Sleek MTV-style look could hook fest programmers looking to round out Asiaphile sidebars, but commercial prospects in East Asia look to be mostly niche, despite the presence of popular Taiwanese star Chen Bo-lin.

Taipei pop singer May (Tang Yao) has a spat with her music producer/lover, Ray (Yang Yu-ning), and hightails it to the picturesque village of Tungchung. Laryngitis provides a perfect cover story while she takes a dishwashing job and wins the heart of local slacker Seamus (Chen). Story gently unfurls, placing no demands on the audience other than to stare at the beautiful people in the beautiful town. Helmer Huo’s reteaming with his “A Time to Love” lenser, Sun Ming, provides luxuriant images marred only by some unsuccessful experiments with Steadicam and shooting speeds. Performances rarely go beyond model-esque posing but are engaging enough to watch.

Snowfall in Taipei

China-Taiwan

Production

A Beijing Bona Film & Television Culture Co., Snowfall in Taipei Film Partners, Bona Entertainment Co. presentation of a Bona Entertainment (China)/Three Dots Entertainment (Taiwan) production. (International sales: Distribution Workshop, Hong Kong.) Produced by Liu Jing, Tomoko Fushimi. Executive producers, Yu Dong, Toru Kenjyu, Shiroharu Kawasaki, Hideki Kawamura, Jeffrey Chan. Co-producers, Zhang Hao, Tomoharu Kusunoki, Michelle Yeh.

Crew

Directed by Huo Jianqi. Screenplay, Xi Wu, Tashiro Chikayo; idea, Chikayo. Camera (color), Sun Ming; editor, Yan Tao; music, An Wei; production designer, Wu Ming. Reviewed at Tokyo Film Festival (competing), Oct. 19, 2009. Original title: Taibei piao xue . Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Chen Bo-lin, Tang Yao, Yang Yu-ning, Morning Mo, Teresa Chi, Janel Tsai.

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