A Chinese senior citizen rediscovers the power of the heart in the beautifully observed and played “Addicted to Love.” Shunning sentimentality in favor of the earthy, downbeat but delicate feel that defined Liu Hao’s previous pics, “Love” takes a simple premise and explores it with subtlety, sensitivity and quiet humor. Fests should warm to a universally appealing tale that keeps its gaze firmly trained on contempo China.Slow-moving but carefully composed, pic is barbed in its attacks on a younger generation which has consigned its elderly to the scrap heap. Widowed Old Pop (Niu Enpu) spots his first love, Li Ying (Jiang Meihua), and decides to pursue her once again, despite the passage of years. But both his family and hers are against the reunion, feeling it to be inappropriate; moreover, Li Ying has fallen victim to Alzheimer’s. Niu is rarely offscreen, his impassive features concealing a turbulent world of inner emotions as he rediscovers his younger self and sets about winning back the heart of a woman who isn’t sure who he actually is. The bland, deceptive title is apparently a mistranslation of the original, which means “Old Pop.”
A Golden Picture Co. presentation of a Liu Hao Studio, Connoisseurs production in association with TVC. (International sales: Liu Hao Studio, Beijing.) Produced by Liu Hao, Yang Zhengping, Mu Jie. Executive producers, Teresa Kwong, Freddie Wong, Ben Ji. Co-producers, Yang Zhengping, Mu Jie. Directed, written by Liu Hao.
Camera (color), Li Bingqiang; editor, Hu Zhikai; art director, Yang Farong. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (competing), Sept. 24, 2010. (Also in Pusan Film Festival -- New Currents.) Running time: 112 MIN.
Niu Enpu, Jiang Meihua.