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The Wall-Passer

Time and space provide no barrier, but there are some things love still can’t overcome in oddball Taiwanese sci-fi romancer “The Wall-Passer.”

'Little Children'

Time and space provide no barrier, but there are some things love still can’t overcome in oddball Taiwanese sci-fi romancer “The Wall-Passer.” An occasional collaborator with Edward Yang, scribe-cum-helmer Hung Hung delivers a stylishly mounted low-budgeter whose rich visuals help create a fantasy world beyond the pic’s resources. Mixed-up yarn initiates several narrative dead ends, but remains engaging to its conclusion. A must-see for Asian and fantasy fests, the pic may garner a small but loyal cult following on ancillary.

Story hurriedly begins as 17-year-old Tye (Chang Yungcheng) and his parents evacuate their home after an earthquake on planet G40 and move to Reality City. Tye is fanatical about the piano, and takes to constantly tapping out rhythms. His constant tinkling on his computer keyboard as if it were a set of 88s leads to an overload on the Internet-dominated, totalitarian state in which he now lives.

While on a school field trip to a nuclear power plant, Tye discovers a radioactive rock whose powers enable him to pass through walls. He also meets a deaf alien shopgirl, NoNo (Lee Chiaying), who can speak to him thanks to the bionic earpiece she wears. The pair begin an angsty romance that is truncated by the reappearance of her French-speaking ex-lover.

Overwrought, NoNo disappears. With the aid of his glowing stone, Tye searches the world for his missing love. While NoNo remains elusive, Tye ends up in a barren region with a young, leather-clad, Lara Croft-type hottie (Lu Chiahsin), who also happens to be blind.

Intriguing script gets tangled up in its own philosophical contortions, but the finale still manages to score a poignant punch. Perfs are solid, and thesps manage to successfully persevere, offering convincing turns through some potentially silly scenarios.

Helming is well considered, and provides a platform for stimulating visuals that make good use of rear projection and other techniques.

Impressive lensing by Jake Pollock is largely dominated by a metallic cool blue-gray tinge that creates a sophisticated look way beyond the obviously meager budget. All other tech credits are impressive.

The Wall-Passer

Taiwan

  • Production: A Dark Eyes presentation of an Ocean Deep Films production. (International sales: Joint Entertainment Intl., Taipei.) Produced by Yeh Jufeng, Cho Li. Directed, written by Hung Hung.
  • Crew: Camera (color/B&W, widescreen), Jake Pollock; editor, Chen Powen; music, Liu Chiling; production designer, Tang Weihsuan; sound (Dolby Digital), u Duuchih, Tang Shiangchu. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (Asian Film Market), Oct. 9, 2007. (Also in Tokyo Film Festival.) Running time: 108 MIN.
  • With: Tye -Chang Yungcheng NoNo -Lee Chiaying Blind Girl -Lu Chiahsin (Mandarin, French, Japanese dialogue)
  • Music By: