Friday, July 08, 2011

Spring Fever

Writes Ed Gonzalez in Slant Magazine: Lou Ye is a poet of the flesh, and his new film is another woozy ode to longing. During Spring Fever's stunning opening, the filmmaker cuts from a flower serenely drifting across water to two men exiting a car on a ferociously windy day to take a piss by the side of the road. Dissonant and jarring, the film's sounds and images oscillate between lust and frustration, and as the past and present are hauntingly blurred, so too are the identities of the story's characters. It's a fetching audio-visual brew invigorated by fiercely spontaneous performances, but Spring Fever, like Purple Butterfly before it, reveals Lou's propensity for losing himself to the soap-operatic.

The film blooms early, promising greatness by evoking Jules and Jim and Happy Together throughout a series of sexy, tumultuous scenes that depict the anxiety that consumes a woman (Jiang Jiaqi) who learns that her husband (Wu Wei) is having an affair with another man (Qin Hao) after hiring a detective (Chen Sicheng) to spy on him. But Lou is more confused than smitten by his characters' queerness, and in its second half the story is choked by contrivance as the detective and his girlfriend (Tan Zhou) indulge in a threesome with the other man. As this trio's personal dramas play out inside thumping clubs and across dreary highways, the film becomes a confused pantomime of fear and disaffection, succumbing to a torpidness from which it never recovers.

The Complete Review Here.

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