"A West Lake Moment" is the English title used in the Hong Kong International Film Festival screening of director Yim Ho's most recent work. There are 36 lakes with the name of "West Lake", according to a tourist guide who was showing us one of these lakes in the vicinity of Leizhou, Guangdong a few years ago. Everybody knew though that there is only one West Lake that carries a couple of thousand years of history and romance THE West Lake in Hangzhou. To a large extent, director Yim's latest movie is a tribute to this legendary place, as the title suggests.
Taking a 180 degree about turn from his earlier languid and sometimes somber work such as Sishui liunian and Tianguo niezi, director Yim shot a marshmallow of a movie, sweet, soft, fluffy and ultimately forgettable.
In a post-screening Q&A session, director Yim acknowledged the observation made by an audience, that the movie reflects quite well the young "petit bourgeois" in China today, how they dress, how they talk, how they live. The story surrounds the character played by Zhou Xun, a young women running a teahouse (the "Yuan Yang Hu Die") left by her parents and her relationship with two young men. Despite the lively and pleasing style of story telling, the romance doesn't exactly leave you pining, mainly because of the guy's inadequacy (in a general sense). The other relationship oozes political correctness with its generous dose of environmental awareness and here, the guy is played by director Yim's son, a talented young man responsible for all the original score in the movie.
For Zhou Xun fans, this movie is a must-see.
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