First Love: The Litter on the Breeze

Producers, Wong Kar-wai, Yokichi Osato, Jacky Pang, Akira Morishita. Executive producer, Chan Ye-cheng.

Producers, Wong Kar-wai, Yokichi Osato, Jacky Pang, Akira Morishita. Executive producer, Chan Ye-cheng.

Directed by Eric Kot. Screenplay, Ocean Chan, Yip Lim-sum. Camera (color), Christopher Doyle; editor, Chan Ki-hop; music, Carl Wong; art director, Man Lim-chung; costumes, Jessie Dai. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 13, 2000. Original Cantonese title: Cho chin lun hau dik yiyan saigai. (Cantonese dialogue.) Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Karen Mok, Eric Kot, Lee Wai-wai, Vincent Kuk, Lan Sin, Cheung Tik-lung.

A prolonged in-joke for Hong Kong movie aficionados, Eric Kot’s “First Love: The Litter on the Breeze” is a wild meld of faux documentary and spoof filmmaking that is strongest when not trying to impress. The film, which bowed locally (to slim B.O.) in December ’97, has some curio appeal from being produced by Wong Kar-wai and jokingly referencing his movies.

First half-hour is centered on Kot himself, a local comic who started his career in commercial radio and supposedly turned to making sub-Wong short movies. Finally, Wong (never seen) offers Kot a picture to direct, “First Love,” about a cutie (Lee Wai-wai) who collects road signs in her apartment and sleepwalks at night, falling for a garbage collector (Takeshi Kaneshiro). Realizing he was too much under Wong’s influence, Kot then breaks away and makes “After Love,” the tale of a jilted g.f. (Karen Mok) who harasses her guilty ex-boyfriend. This final seg is not only the most restrained and affecting but also the best, proving Kot’s underlying point about artistic originality and revealing him, ironically, as a comic talent who doesn’t need technical trickery and overstatement to succeed.

First Love: The Litter on the Breeze

(HONG KONG-JAPAN)

Production: A Block 2 Pictures presentation, in association with Amuse Group, of a Jet Tone production. (International sales: Block 2, Hong Kong.)

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