March is dark time for Chinese cinema. Since saying goodbye to the boom weeks of Valentine’s Day and Spring Festival, the only film to come limping into the box office has been An Autumn Wind.
While on the surface An Autumn Wind appears to have a grand background, its story crumbles the minute a viewer realizes it is pure cheese.
Supported by his dedicated wife, the “diaosi” Lan Yi eventually becomes a “tuhao” in Beijing. That’s when he meets his childhood sweetheart Jasmine on the streets of New York City. But Jasmine has found another down-and-out artist to love.
Dramatically, Jasmine accepts Lan’s money and uses it to support her artist boyfriend. The story ends with Lan in a car accident and Jasmine raining tears.
The plot is incredibly similar to last September’s But Always, where the childhood sweethearts end up in New York alone for the same reason: to pursue their so-called dreams while getting trapped in a triangle.
The one good line in An Autumn Wind came from Jasmine’s artist boyfriend: “You never know how to love someone because you never lost them.”
It seems like the director planned to tell a complete story involving the comparison between the Chinese and American economy during the 2008 World Financial Crisis and a typical arty girl’s vision of love. Unfortunately, the weak plot fell back on killing off the main character and leaving a dozen holes.
After years of being the ‘flowerpot’ on the big screen, Lin Chi-ling finally had chance to embrace her ‘golden period’ as an actress – but it seems no one considered her voice or image. Everything about her clashed horribly with her role as a student on the bottom runs of metropolitan society.
As for Liu Ye, well, we expected more. The former Hong Kong Film Awards-winner seems to have forgotten how to choose a good script. His journey from Spacked Out to The Boundary has been one long self-depreciating tumble. His stilted romance lines and abrupt roaring might leave new viewers wondering how he ever became famous.
But for all that went wrong in An Autumn Wind, there is something worth the price of admission: the cinematography.
Du Kefeng, chief cinematographer of the internationally renowned auteur Wong Kar-wai, presents a gorgeous picture. Using the latest in aerial photography technology, Du captures landmarks of New York City such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and dim streetlights.
An Autumn Wind is much more enjoyable when you pretend it’s a 100-minute music video.