No Lonely Angels

Stylish, energetic view of youth culture in today's, ad-saturated Shanghai narrowly fails to deliver on initial promise, which pivots on points where several love triangles meet. Presence of pop star Xi Diaodang and soap thesp Li Xiaoran should make easier to sell to Chinese overseas, and pic will please fest fans looking for lighter fare.

With:
With: Guo Tao, Xi Diaodang, Li Xiaoran, Tao Hong.

Stylish, energetic view of youth culture in today’s, ad-saturated Shanghai narrowly fails to deliver on initial promise, which pivots on points where several love triangles meet. Presence of pop star Xi Diaodang and soap thesp Li Xiaoran should make “No Lonely Angels” easier to sell to Chinese overseas, and pic will please fest fans looking for lighter fare.

Li plays Ye, a brassy and brusque art student with a habit of meeting men in bars and then going nowhere with them. Things change when she bumps into Lang (Guo Tao), but he’s still in love with older hometown girl Jia (cast standout Tao Hong). In fact, when Lang goes abroad, he sets up Jia in a swank apartment, where she happens to meet an undercover narc (Xi), who gets her spying on neighbors, to amusing effect. Problem is that no one clicks on screen with Guo’s character, a stodgy presence in an otherwise percolating mood piece that depends entirely on chemistry for emotional payoff. Helmer Zhang Fanfan has a great eye for telling details, in foreground and back, where life is changing almost too fast for protags to keep up.

No Lonely Angels

China

Production: A Changchun Film Studio (Beijing) production, in association with Xylophone Films. (International sales: Media Asia Distribution, Hong Kong.) Produced by Yu Jiaen. Directed by Zhang Fanfan. Screenplay, Song Chunli.

Crew: Camera (color), Song Xiafei. Reviewed on vidcassette at Hawaii Film Festival (China's New Wave), Nov. 1, 2003. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Guo Tao, Xi Diaodang, Li Xiaoran, Tao Hong.

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