Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spider Lillies (2007)

To be honest I originally picked this Taiwanese film up because of the case. Its a weird tie closed case with tattoos and post cards bound inside of it. I like odd box sets, especially Asian ones, which is why this got picked up. It had been sitting on myself for two years before, unsure of what to watch while I sorted papers, I pulled this off the shelf and gave it a go.

The plot centers around a girl who runs a racy web cam site, her grandmother, one of the men watching her (he's cop trying to bust her), a kid who finds power in tattoos, a lovely tattoo artist and her brother. The girl is attracted to the tattoo artist and vice versa but because of complications and plot that is much too complicated to explain simply, things are not as easy as you might think (nor as complicated as I'm making it out to be). I really liked this film. It has any number of very real characters that worm their way into your heart.

This is an odd film at times in that it plays with the notion of why we remember and how we remember and what is real. Why do you remember what you remember? Are you sure that you really remember everything? This film noodles with the ideas at times with memories repeated differently. There are several characters who's memory is failing and we see how that effects those around them.The film also skirts around how we perceive people on line, as the cop falls for the girl and the girl isn't sure who is telling her they love her.

There is something about the characters that made it all real. I mean how can you not help but love a film that shows the dangers of being a web-cam girl when you live at home with your grandmother.

I need to say I loved how the romance between the characters is handled as something that just sort of was. The fact that its two women isn't really the point, its that its two people. Forgive me, I'm tired of films that are same sex romance; especially where they beat you over the head with it to the point that you wonder if its about anything other than being gay or lesbian. This is about the people.

My only real complaint with the film is that the layers of memory and stories and reality kind of reach a breaking point about an hour and twenty minutes in. Somewhere about that time the film seems to be juggling way too many balls and I began to lose track of what was happening. Its a minor flaw because by that time the characters have built up enough good will it just carries you to the end.

I think its worth a look, and even a repeat viewing.

Currently available on DVD in the US and elsewhere.

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