Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NYAFF 2010: "Sophie's Revenge"

* Sophie's Revenge (dir. Eva Jin, 2009, China). Zhang Ziyi, the lead Sophie, also produced this slick, sugary Hollwood-esque rom-com. But you know what? It's cute! And that's OK! A little slice of escapism w/ a gorgeous cast (also starring So Ji-Sub as Sophie's ex Jeff, Fan Bingbing as Jeff's new starlet squeeze Joanna and Peter Ho as the rough-and-tumble photographer Gorden...oh and Ruby Lin — HELLO! — as Sophie's agent Lucy) never hurt anyone. The Hollywood-esque quip earlier was intentional: this could easily be set in fantasy Manhattan, where everyone owns a spacious brownstone and dresses exceptionally well, unless they feel like lounging about in their PJs, then they are fine to do that. And if they're not a doctor (Jeff), they're in a "creative" industry (Sophie's an artist, Gorden a photographer etc). Zhang plays a lovelorn klutz, desperately seeking to retake Jeff's affections, after he dumped her a month before their wedding, then kick him to the curb, whilst throwing fluttery eyelash, sweetly smiled affectations at her girls or Gorden, the boy-next-door-type who 1st takes pity on her then falls for her. Sophie concocts these elaborate "scientific" means for winning Jeff back, from befriending Joanna at the gym (there are numerous instances of Sophie's creative, runaway mind at work throughout the film, like placing shards of a lightbulb outside Joanna's shower, when in reality she's just messing w/ her feathery slippers) to getting a makeover and pretending to be "with" Gorden. Lots of cartoon-rendered interventions as well, animations courtesy of Sophie's vivid storytelling that add a bit of quirkiness to the dialogue. This is a different Zhang for me, w/o the poisonous grace of her Bai Ling character in Wong Kar-Wai's 2046. Sophie is nonathletic, weepy, flirty (in a different sense from Ling), prone to excessive drinking, clumsy — in short, the protagonist in a Hollywood-esque rom-com. It's not very serious, but you may find yourself teared up by the conclusion (girls, I"m not just talking to you here).
Next screening: Sat, July 3, 9:45p (Walter Reade Theatre)