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52Hz, I Love You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Suming (Actor) | Ball Chuang (Actor) | Xiao Yu (Actor) | Mify Chen (Actor)
52Hz, I Love You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Wei Te Sheng's first musical
September 13, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
Music played a big role in Wei Te Sheng's 2007 breakout blockbuster Cape No. 7 that launched him to prominence. After two historical sagas, he goes back to music with the full-fledged musical feature 52Hz, I Love You.

The airy, whimsical Taipei-set romance weaves together several threads on Valentine's Day. Sandrine Pinna and Nana Lee begin the film with a cameo pitch for marriage equality as a lesbian couple participating in a mass wedding event organized by the city. Lin Ching Tai and Cyndi Chao, meanwhile, represent the older subset with an odd encounter on the subway. The two main parings, however, are Mify Chen and Suming as a long-time couple on the rocks, though the latter doesn't realize it, and Xiao Yu and Ball Chuang as a chocolatier and flower shop owner who literally collide into each other while making deliveries.

Peppered with bright, fanciful visuals and indie pop numbers, 52Hz is a pleasant and polished musical production that looks and sounds great, though its persistently sincere stories don't leave much room for narrative or character development. None of Wei's films have relied on great (or even average) thespians for the leads, and the tradeoff between stronger singing and weaker acting is particularly apparent this time with the casting of indie artists who don't have enough screen charisma and experience to elevate their thinly written characters. (Lin Ching Tai's alternative interpretation of musical notes for his song, though, suggests that maybe going with better singers is indeed the wiser choice.) What 52Hz lacks in emotional depth, it duly makes up for with technical craft and commitment to genre form.

52Hz's sweet and straightforward Valentine's Day stories may feel like a step down from the great scope and colonial discourse of Seediq Bale and Kano, or even Cape No. 7, but the whole project is very much true to Wei's filmmaking style of going all in. When looking at the significant budget and production values of Wei's films, they can only be described as commercial, and yet much of what he does runs counter to commercial considerations. Once again for 52Hz, he casts untested leads, delves into a locally untested genre and spends too much money on a star-less film that has to rely primarily on the Taiwan market to recoup costs.

Like the colonial trilogy, 52Hz, I Love You's existence is a testament to Wei Te Sheng's conviction to local cinema, attention to craft and form, and willingness to take a leap of faith, this time for a rare domestically produced musical. 52Hz, I Love You may be a light and glossy musical romance that underperformed at the box office, but it's also an admirable undertaking for Taiwan cinema.






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