Thursday, July 29, 2010

MIFF 2010: Apart Together

Apart Together (Tuan yuan) has an unusual twist on the love triangle. Newly weds separated by the Chinese Nationalist Army's retreat to Taiwan are reunited in late 1980s Shanghai after forty years apart.

It's a fairly light romantic drama as former soldier KMT soldier Liu Yangsheng (Ling Feng) gets reacquainted with Yu-e (Lisu Lu) and meets his son and her second family. It's a difficult emotional journey for the couple. this is not just because of opposition to her returning with him to Taiwan but also through the magnaminous acceptance of her second husband ex Communist soldier Lu Shanming (Xu Caigen).

As well as the exploration of these tangled relationships, there is also some forboding comment on the emerging modern China, with its threat to the extended family and neighbourhood communities.

The pace of this story was annoying at times. The lead character lacks both energy and depth. In contrast to his rival's overacting, it is a rather flat and uninspiring performance. In contrast Lisu Lu gives a subtle and moving portrayal as the second-time-around lover.

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