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Colour Blossoms
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Left: Teresa Chiang busts out.
Upper right: Sho likes to watch.
Lower rignt: Carl Ng also likes to watch, but could hurt his neck trying.


Year: 2004
Director: Yeung Fan
Producer: Fruit Chan Gor
Writer: Yeung Fan
Cast: Teresa Chiang Siu-Wai, Matsuzaka Keiko, Ha Ri Su, Sho, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Guk Fung
The Skinny: A self-proclaimed art film that has definite camp classic potential. Lurid camerawork, sumptuous cinematography, and an evocative soundtrack help matters, but Yon Fan's cinematic poem about love, lust, S&M, and all things in between is a decidedly impenetrable motion picture. If you get creative it could make sense. However, those who lack the effort will probably start giggling thirty minutes in. Either that, or you'll stop watching.
by Kozo:

It's A Chinese Ghost Story meets the works of Bettie Page! With The Crying Game and Wong Kar-Wai thrown in for good measure! Director Yeung Fan AKA Yon Fan, maestro of such gorgeous works as Bishonen and Peony Pavilion, brings us Colour Blossoms, the movie that asks, "What would you do to entice your dream lover?" Or perhaps it asks, "Is pure love impossible?" Or, with regards to lead actress Teresa Chiang, it could be asking, "Would you believe the body on this forty year-old woman?" If those are your questions, then Colour Blossoms may have your answer. Just don't expect it to A) make sense, or B) matter, because this movie does neither.

Teresa Chiang (Kenny Bee's notorious ex-wife) is Meili ("Beautiful Woman"), who lives up to her name and then some. The wide-eyed, hot-bodied Meili is a realtor whose life changes when she meets the melodramatic Madam Umeki (Matsuzaka Keiko). Umeki buys a house from Meili, then foists her Lan Kwai Fong apartment on Meili to rent to someone else. The big issue: this is one gorgeous apartment, and Meili won't rent it to just anyone. Luckily, someone who isn't just anyone shows up. The guy is Kim (Japanese model Sho), a young photographer who appears out of nowhere and begins saying hilarious existential things to Meili. She's disturbed, but becomes more attracted to Sho when the other guy in her life, Officer 4708 (Carl Ng), starts disturbing her even more. The rock-handsome 4708 barely speaks, touches objects in a vaguely erotic fashion, and glides on his feet like some sort of voyeuristic law enforcement mime. Meanwhile, the colors and costumes are faaaaabulous. Is this art?

If it is, then it's not good art. Whatever Meili is going through is something that occurs only to her, because it doesn't reach us on this side of the screen. Teresa Chiang turns in a daring and even beguiling performance as Meili, a woman who's searching for love and is all-too-willing to explore her darker side. Maybe. Even though she's attracted to Kim, and is enchanted by the increasingly insane-acting Madam Umeki, she also finds time to entice 4708 with her bare breasts and try on some S&M gear to see what it imparts on her squirming-to-be-loved soul. You see, in the world of Colour Blossoms, S&M does two things. One, if gets the unnaturally sexy Teresa Chiang (who, if we must remind you, is over forty years of age) into fantastic leather outfits. Two, it creates meaning. Or at least, that's what director-writer-photographer Yon Fan wants.

One interpretation of Colour Blossoms is that S&M represents the inherent subjugation one must experience when they allow love into their lives. Love does wacky things to people. They become promiscuous, change their sexes (Korean actress and famous transsexual Ha Ri Su shows up as a young Madam Umeki), and generally act completely off the wall. Nobody in Colour Blossoms, from Meili to 4708 to Madam Umeki seems to exist in a fathomable, reachable world. Love, lust, and pain can apparently drive you to incredibly desperate extremes, so much so that you'll kill your lover, then trap their spirit in your insanely decked-out apartment, whereupon they can return to engage in S&M antics with someone else years later. You'll also start to overact relentlessly. Matsuzaka Keiko deserves an overacting award for her over-the-top histrionics as the haughty Madam Umeki, but to actually match the level of her overacting, the award would have to be fifty feet tall and weigh about three thousand tons. That may sound excessive, but that's pretty much what Colour Blossoms is: excess.

Granted, it's beautiful excess, and can make great background chatter at a wine and brie party. Yon Fan is a celebrated photographer, and extends that attention to both visuals and sound for Colour Blossoms. Everything looks and sounds absolutely stunning—it just doesn't make any sense. Not that a movie truly has to because one of 2004's best films, the animated headscratcher McDull, Prince de la Bun, didn't make much sense either. However, that film had feelings and emotions that actually reached the audience, and that's where Colour Blossoms fails. There's apparent passion and poetry in Colour Blossoms but none of it seems to make it off the screen. A lot of details get thrown out, and perhaps they mean something, but the film does not provide the incentive to figure it out. It's incredibly dense, emotionally cold, and moves at a glacial pace that makes Wong Kar-Wai seem like Michael Bay. Yon Fan has probably driven himself to ecstasy with the elegance and loaded existential meaning of his work, but it would seem that getting the same experience requires telepathy, or maybe a thick 600-page guide to Yon Fan's world. Hell, maybe Colour Blossoms and its bizarre cast of characters does mean something. Maybe Madam Umeki represents regret, Meili represents sexuality, Kim represents desire, and 4708 represents the wilting flower of innnocence. But honestly, I didn't get that, and I don't care. (Kozo 2005)

Awards: 24th Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best New Artist (Teresa Chiang Siu-Wai)
• Nomination - Best Art Direction (Man Lim-Chung)
• Nomination - Best Costume Design and Make-Up (Yeung Fan, Ho Chi-Leung)
11th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Recommended Film
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Far Sun Film Co.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Original Language Track (Cantonese, Japanese, English)
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
"Making of" featurette, Trailers, Audio commentary, Deleted scenes

images courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen