31 July 2006 | leekandham
A few beautiful moments
A West Lake Moment is a romantic drama featuring Xiao Yu (Zhou Xun) as the owner of a café in Hangzhou. She meets a man, Qin (Chen Kun) from Beijing, a playboy who shares the same idiosyncrasies as she does (from an occasional stammer to mild schizophrenia) and as a result, she promptly falls for him. But his playboy days become too much for her, testing her patience and ultimately forcing her back to Hangzhou. Soon he realises he may have lost the one relationship he really wanted, just as Xiao Yu finds out that she may have just lost her best friend, Tong (Yim Ling).
The setting for the film is West Lake, a large lake that is situated in the city of Hangzhou in southern China. Its history is that it is one of the most beautiful places in China, having inspired writers and artists for many centuries. A very beautiful place, the film uses that to good effect with beautiful shots of the location that do the place full justice. However, my only complaint is the lack of the use of the weather. Most shots are taken on a grey wintry day (probably the only time that the lake is quiet in this tourist city), and thus, I thought it could have been done better.
The film is very much a portrait of life in modern China for the youth of today. The cast are the up and coming young wannabes, who dress well and want to be successful in careers outside of the traditional ones their parents probably wanted. And with all of that is the different opinions of love and how it comes about. The playboy and the girl with a Caucasian boyfriend exemplifies this. The setting is truthful and honest, and does say a lot about how China has changed.
As for the stars, Zhou Xun is one of the biggest talents in Chinese cinema today. Her appearances in Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress, Hollywood Hong Kong and most recently Perhaps Love have displayed a versatility that could see her as one of the biggest actresses to have come from China. Her performance in this film makes her completely lovable, particularly as the idiosyncrasies that she possesses are completely believable, and I have no doubt that there will be more big successes for her in the future.
Chen Kun is also a rising talent in China, and his performance in this film was also strong. I suspect the chemistry that he and Zhou Xun has been consolidated over time as this is their third outing together on the big screen.
Meanwhile the partnership between director Yim Ho and his son Yim Ling, who plays Tong in this movie, appears to work well. As I understand it from other reviews on IMDb, Yim Ling also writes the score and soundtrack for the film, which I have to say is excellent.
All in all, this is a good movie, with plenty to keep you interested. One for a dreamy afternoon.