Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jasmine Flowers (2004)

Ziyi Zhang and Joan Chen play a series of mothers and daughters from the 1930's to the 1980's. The film follows as daughter falls in love and becomes pregnant giving birth to the next generation. It's the course of woman in China over 50 years; fighting to find her place, before accepting the place she has at last made for herself.

Soapy film based on a novel will depend upon how you feel about the actresses and the soap of the story. If you want to see how good both Zhang and Chen can be, see this film. It's a wonderful showcase of their talents. I especially loved the screen test scene at the beginning, it's a great showcase for what Zhang can do. Chen on the other hand is quietly wonderful as the mother/grandmother all through the tale. There is a wonderful strength in her. She makes it look way too easy.

On the other hand the story is very soapy. It's filled with triumph and tragedy, and it's clearly constructed to produce a certain effect at the end. Reading about the film I found that some people really didn't like the "pulpy", "soapy" clichéd construction of the plot. Personally I saw the soapy clichés coming (I mean the producer discovering the daughter in the hopes of bedding her is as clichéd as they come), but I went with it because the ladies are so radiant.

Sue me, I liked it.

This is available as an import DVD

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