Anna and Anna (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3
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YesAsia Editorial Description
Dressed to the nines and cool as ice, power executive Anna (Karena Lam) seems to have everything the modern woman could ask for, from a luxury apartment to a handsome boyfriend (Tender Huang), but her life feels cold and empty. Her past creeps up on her when she transfers from Singapore to Shanghai, a city that she left years ago. There she encounters a woman who looks exactly like her, shares the same name as her, and, most startlingly, is married to her ex-boyfriend Ouyang (Lu Yi). It isn't long before Anna realizes that they are in fact the same person. It seems that when Anna left Ouyang, she also left a part of herself behind. Her doppelganger continued to pursue art and stayed with Ouyang through the hard times, maintaining a bitter relationship and impoverished existence to the present day. Glimpsing the life and love that could have been, Anna #1 suggests to Anna #2 that they temporarily switch places...
|Product Title:||Anna and Anna (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 安娜與安娜 (2007) (DVD) (台灣版) 安娜与安娜 (2007) (DVD) (台湾版) 安娜與安娜 Anna and Anna (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)|
|Artist Name(s):||Karena Lam (Actor) | Lu Yi (Actor) | Tender Huang (Actor) 林嘉欣 (Actor) | 陸 毅 (Actor) | 黃 騰浩 (Actor) 林嘉欣 (Actor) | 陆 毅 (Actor) | 黄 腾浩 (Actor) 林嘉欣（カリーナ・ラム） (Actor) | 陸毅 （ルー・イー） (Actor) | 黄騰浩 (テンダー・ ホァン) (Actor) Karena Lam (Actor) | Lu Yi (Actor) | Tender Huang (Actor)|
|Director:||Aubrey Lam 林愛華 林爱华 Aubrey Lam Aubrey Lam|
|Subtitles:||English, Traditional Chinese|
|Place of Origin:||Hong Kong|
|Picture Format:||NTSC What is it?|
|Aspect Ratio:||1.78 : 1|
|Sound Information:||Dolby Digital|
|Region Code:||3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?|
|Publisher:||Win Times Entertainment Ltd.|
|Package Weight:||150 (g)|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1011445913|
Anna (Karena Lam) seems to have a great life for both love and career in Singapore. Until she has to move to Shanghai. There she meets her ex-boyfriend. Ouyang (Lu Yi) and his wife. Si Yu (Karena Lam) who looks exactly like her. Love for her ex-beau rekindles and she decides to switch identities with her doppelganger for a week.
Si Yu then flies to Singapore where she lives with Billy (Tender Huang). Anna's current boyfriend. Anna gradually realizes that Ouyang is no longer the man she used to love and desperately wants her old life in Singapore back, but her alternate self has plans of her own too....
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Anna and Anna (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"
This professional review refers to Anna and Anna (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Anna and Anna is the latest from writer and director Aubrey Lam, previously responsible for Twelve Nights and Hidden Track and who collaborated with Peter Chan on the scripts of several of his films including Perhaps Love and recent blockbuster hit Warlords. Here she takes on the ever-popular cinematic theme of the doppelganger, mainly as a means of exploring the dualities and contradictions of the lives of women in modern China. The film's biggest draw is the fact that in the two lead roles it features popular and talented Canadian-Chinese actress Karena Lam, who has been building up a solid body of work including the likes of Koma, Silk, and Kidnap.
The film starts by following one half of the titular duo, a glamorous, high powered business woman living in Singapore, who on the surface at least seems to have it all, from the expensive apartment right down to the rough and ready but sensitive rocker boyfriend (Tender Huang, also in Leste Chen's Taiwanese horror The Heirloom). Still, something seems to be missing, and she is frequently tortured by dreams and visions of a childhood incident, which seemed to result in her splitting into two people. After being transferred to Shanghai, she coincidentally comes across her other half who even more coincidentally just happens to be married to her ex-boyfriend, the possibly clinically depressed pianist Ouyang (Lu Yi, recently in Tsui Hark's Seven Swords) who she had left behind some years ago following an abortion. Curious to know what her life would have been like if she had stayed with him, Singapore Anna suggests that they swap places for three days, something which needless to say doesn't work out exactly as planned.
Although the premise of Anna and Anna seems like a natural fit for the evil twin and identity theft route, director Lam confounds expectations but taking the film in another direction entirely. Basically a wistful "what if" urban adult fantasy piece with vaguely sinister undertones and a burgeoning social conscience, the film is an ambiguous, wilfully obscure examination of the two different ways that the life of the central character(s) could have turned out based upon one momentous decision. Whilst this does mean that viewers expecting more of a thriller may well be disappointed, the film works well according to these modest aims, and manages to be both thoughtful and unsettling. By steadfastly refusing to provide any definitive explanations as to how or why the split occurred, or indeed even if it really did, Lam lends the film a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere which effectively pulls the viewer into the characters and their lives. Given the nature of the plot, it should come as no surprise that there is a great deal in the way of coincidence and fate, though this is embraced and made part of its philosophical part rather than being used as a narrative device, and so it never jars or annoys. Certainly, the film is more of a character-based mood piece than anything else, though one that does retain enough semblance of plot to keep things structured and interesting, albeit without ever actually going anywhere or drawing any real conclusions.
To a large extent the film rests upon the shoulders of Karena Lam, and thankfully she proves up to the difficult task of the dual role, bringing both woman to convincing life as different characters through subtle mannerisms and facial expressions - though it has to be said that her job is made a little easier by the fact that the two Annas are kept emotionally at arms length, with Lam never attempting to make the film a moving experience. The pivotal duality also works thanks to some excellent, seamless camera work, which allows the two to appear on screen without any glaring use of special effects or the usual kind of obvious mirror shots. The film as a whole benefits from an immaculate visual construction, with Lam managing to work in all manner of symbolic doublings and splits, though thankfully in a relatively subtle and restrained manner.
This too adds to the impression of Anna and Anna being a considered, literally reflective slice of psychological character drama rather than a thriller and helps to deflect from the essential silliness of the central plot. Certainly, it is a film likely to split viewers, and those hoping to see Karena Lam in another piece of genre entertainment should be warned. However, for viewers willing to keep an open mind the film does provide an engaging and interesting meditation not only on the lot of modern Chinese women, but on how all of our lives are shaped by the choices we make and indeed the responsibility we take for our actions.
by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com
Customer Review of "Anna and Anna (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"
See all my reviews
February 20, 2008
This customer review refers to Anna and Anna (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
A Woman in Two Minds
Its quite an anticipation for me to see a new Karena Lam inclusive movie, and when I spotted this title hinting at Karena'a previous "Inner Senses" type psychological / supernatural / thriller movie - the more that anticipation excelled. But after watching this, it turned out to be neither of the three genre types above, or a film that actually made any satisfying sense by its conclusion. Cue - crying into hands with disappointment.
"Anna and Anna" is quite down to earth, really, and not the mystical or psychoanalytical film you might expect about Doppelganger mirrored doubles. This film is more to do with a woman needing to resolve past misjudgments in a failed relationship with a man after she leaves him (a.k.a. That Old Chestnut), and about the position of women within a past and modernizing China - than deep musings of psychological and paranormal thematics. The 'paranormal' aspect of Anna's other self (or Doppelganger) is muted, and used more as a vehicle to showcase Anna's split mind (although she's not schizophrenic, though), in that a 'part' of her moved away from a failed relationship with her pianist musician boyfriend in Shanghai, and another 'part' of her becoming a modern power working girl with a new nifty boyfriend in a rock band......in Singapore. But this change of circumstances is a 'splitting' of Anna, by one part of her staying behind and supporting the man she loved in Shanghai, and her other 'self' working in Singapore. But she is only one person - and in this regard, goes to Singapore but stays behind in Shanghai at the same time! It doesn't make sense, does it? But this paradox is how the story is told, and making sense of it is like trying to understand the workings of a surviving snowflake on the surface of the sun!
The film begins with a flash back of Anna as a young girl diving into a swimming pool and confronting her other self there in the water (I wondered if that was a 'joke' about synchronized swimmers?) Anna supposed to have had an accident with a stress related situation, causing her to split into two parts. But this beginning being a flash back, relates to the real issues about Anna's dilemma with her ex-boyfriend Ouyang in Shanghai, who she had eventually left due to his intense depressive illness that curbed his piano playing after their 'tragic situation', that eventually gives Anna a guilt ridden problem over leaving him. Anna in this film is presently in Singapore with a high executive job and a new boyfriend named Billy who sings in a rock band (and who Anna is also indecisive about). But, Anna suddenly needs to sort out her past with Ouyang, as guilty feelings creep upon her, when she comes across an old painting and photo relating to him. This happens in two ways, too, as 'both' Anna's confront each other in the street, bringing themselves into juxtaposition, and finding themselves making decisions to face their 'own' realities they both exist in. Past and Present. So, both Anna's switch places to rectify the past/present, by past Anna moving in with rock guitarist/singer Billy in Singapore, and present workaholic Anna going all retro with her depressed pianist boyfriend Ouyang, in Shanghai. But this as no relation to the childhood Anna. You don't get to really know why childhood Anna is seen 'split into two' (generally a kid splits into two when having to decide on a Wii or a Playstation 3), other than this recurring psychological traumatic flashback.
So by Anna moving to a new career in Singapore, changes her perceived persona (or reinventing herself) from her past with Ouyang into this new working life and situation, and partly burying Anna's past. But although Anna's 'room' changes, her memories and situations of her past don't, and only shift her senses into these new changed horizons - with the baggage of the past lurking below to pop up again. Which it does, when Anna meets her 'old' self on the streets of Shanghai. And so, Anna the Protagonist(s) split into two aspects (somewhere in the movie, but my head will go all silly if I keep thinking about it), regarding Anna's failed relationship (and a lost baby), and her need for a modern working environment away from that past.
Still, this movie doesn't quite pull itself together, and I couldn't be sure if Anna had a psychological split personality, a split dimension situation where Anna actually did separate into two people (in that case she may have needed Dr Who!), or a plain vanilla circumstance of Anna reflecting on her past boyfriend dilemma, and sorting it all out by (some oddly) reflected memories. Or ultra paradoxically - all three! Oh dear, your head could go thwpt, thinking about it all! There are definitely complex flash backs, so this indicates Anna's memory is what is being seen here. But due to both Anna's communicating with 'themselves' and other characters in one time space, and also being accepted as two distinctive 'twins' - makes it difficult to assume this is 'all in the mind' stuff.
If anything, "Anna and Anna" could be compared to the US 1998 movie "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow, where one woman lived out two parallel lives, in different ways. But here, you are never sure of anything, as there is no emphasis on the psychological, paranormal or even memory. Its more a social situation. You don't get solid answers to this, I'm afraid. The only way to make any sense of this film, is to view it as an allegory (and it does feature a lot of 'art' references), so that what is happening, is what 'could' happen if you were able to meet yourself from the past (like Marty McFly), and rectify anything you wanted to resolve in the past. But only in surmising the reality as metaphor, and not regarding the 'story' as literal QED actuality. To try an make full sense out of all this is futile, and could leave you needing a new brain afterwards, as you will have worn your present one out! Its like trying to work out how one hand claps!
According to the "Making Of", this film is also supposed to be in regard of how women can resolve the past and present modern working lives, regarding the 'new woman' within the ever growing China, as like Anna in the past is a country girl artist and the modern Anna, a sexy looking business woman that could tread on your sandwiches at work, if they got in the way of her personal progress. But surely this would be a bit Spongebob Square Pants to use a scenario role model platform as this. Does a girl have to split into two, to get on!
Considering all this, though, is a difficult premise to work on, and Aubrey Lam and Karena do make a good looking and visually produced film here. Cinematography is so picturesque, featuring some lovely scenic structures with careful camera angles, warm lighting effects and scenery, that is very aesthetically dreamlike in places. The acting is carefully and delicately done, too, and I thought Lu Yi preformed a good role as the depressed Ouyang and Karena is always on form, but strangely lacking somewhat here, possibly due to such a mind blowing script! She looks gorgeous, though, as the modern Anna! But the plot is over produced. There is just no solidity here, its neither a proper psychological drama or an actual unusual phenomena situation, giving any addition to the nature of split personalities as interesting subject matter. I mean, split into two, due to a stressful situation? Jenny in Korean movie "Jenny, Juno" had a stressful situation when she discovered she was having a baby as a teenager, but she didn't split into two, either metaphorically of actually (mind you, her baby might have done, if Jenny had twins!). Sigh. You cannot fit things together properly, to thumbs up the plot! Its frustrating! Especially when you like Karena a lot, like me! Still, she will be back, and hopefully her next movie will be the one we were waiting for. Definitely! Go for it, Karena! "Anna v Anna" does have positive parts, though, and it can provoke food for thought on the ideas, after the finish.
DVD set by Delta is as excellent as always. No region worries, English subtitles to everything and the quality is superb! This can be worth seeing, but don't get any great expectations or a logical and befitting ending.
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