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Drifting Flowers (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Lu Yi Ching (Actor) | Serena Fang (Actor) | Zero Chou (Director)
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Drifting Flowers (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

After Spider Lilies, up-and-coming Taiwan director Zero Chou continues to explore the heartstrings and heartaches of lesbian love in her latest film Drifting Flowers. Jumping through multiple time periods in a deliberate blurring of past and present, the film is split into three episodes, telling intertwining tales of love, separation, and reunion in a uniquely Taiwan landscape of puppet theater shows and Taiwanese-dialect lounge ballads. Without the big names and glossy stylings of Spider Lilies and Candy Rain, Drifting Flowers comes with less baggage and more ambition, striking chords with a delicately woven narrative, sensitive characterizations, and admirable performances from the film's ensemble cast.

In a provincial town of yesteryear, blind lounge singer Jing (Serena Fang) and her eight-year-old sister May (Pai Chih Ying) both fall for androgynous sax player Diego (Chao Yi Lan), causing an unexpected riff in the sisters' relationship. Middle-aged HIV-positive gay man Yen (Sam Wang) and his Alzheimer's-stricken lesbian wife Lily (Lu Yi Ching) share house after years of estrangement, resulting in gentle bickering and comedic gender-bending when Lily mistakes Yen for her late partner. Flashing back to the past again, a teenaged Diego struggles with her sexuality amid a budding romance with Lily (Herb Hsu) and growing discord with her family.

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Product Title: Drifting Flowers (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) 漂浪青春 (DVD) (單碟版) (台灣版) 漂浪青春 (DVD) (单碟版) (台湾版) 彷徨う花たち (漂浪青春) (台湾版) Drifting Flowers (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
Artist Name(s): Lu Yi Ching (Actor) | Serena Fang (Actor) 陸弈靜 (Actor) | 房 思瑜 (Actor) 陆弈静 (Actor) | 房 思瑜 (Actor) Lu Yi Ching (Actor) | 房思瑜 (セレナ・ファン) (Actor) Lu Yi Ching (Actor) | Serena Fang (Actor)
Director: Zero Chou 周美玲 周美玲 周美玲(ゼロ・チョウ) Zero Chou
Release Date: 2009-09-10
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Taiwan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 96 (mins)
Publisher: Hoker Records
Package Weight: 130 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1021243752

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Drifting Flowers (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)"

December 18, 2008

This professional review refers to Drifting Flowers (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
Director Zero Chou impresses with Drifting Flowers, her follow-up to the attractive but frustratingly abstract Spider Lilies. A trio of interrelated Taiwan-set stories detailing homosexual relationships, Drifting Flowers is unoriginal yet engaging, and features sympathetic characters and situations. The first segment tells the tale of eight-year-old May (Pai Chih-Ying), who lives under the care of her blind sister Jing (Serena Fang), a singer in a three-person lounge act. One of her colleagues is the tall Diego (Chao Yi-Lan), whose boyish haircut and butch manner of dress signal her sexual orientation like a bright red flag. Diego becomes close to the two sisters, and May becomes attached to Diego in return. That is, until she grows jealous of Diego's affection towards Jing, and decides that her sister is trying to steal Diego for herself. May's feelings for Diego are innocent rather than romantic, but the situation spins inevitably out of control due to May's inability to separate reality from her active imagination. With society nominally against the entire situation, the two sisters suffer a split that may take years to mend, if ever. At once frustrating and understandable, the first segment takes a few shortcuts narratively, but its emotions feel earned.

Segment two tells the languid tale of aged Lily (Lu Yi-Ching), who once married Yen (Sam Wang), with their union intended to mask their respective gay lifestyles. Years later, Lily is suffering from Alzheimer's after the loss of her longtime partner, and Yen shows up again to secure her release from the hospital. However, the demented Lily mistakes her fake partner for her real partner, leading to some gentle gender-bending comedy, and extenuating circumstances where Yen stays on to watch over his ailing wife-in-name-only. Meanwhile, Yen has other issues: he's HIV-positive, and his relationship with a younger man is on the rocks. Actor Sam Wang could have made Yen a caricature, but he carries the middle segment of the film with a sympathetic performance. Actress Lu Yi-Ching is better, and manages to make Lily's plight both human and humorous. The actors are the highlight of the middle segment, giving their characters personality and their relationship a genuine-seeming weight.

Segment three brings back Diego (Chao Yi-Lan again), as we witness her teen years, when she was on the verge of finally accepting her true sexuality. Her family runs a local puppet theatre, but her mother is concerned that Diego may not be taking the common path towards marriage, and wonders how she can provide for herself one day. The thought is to split the theatre business into two, with Diego taking one half and her brother the other, but not everyone in the family is cool with the idea. Also, the business is in danger from newer, racier forms of entertainment. The situation comes to a minor head when a traveling vaudeville show comes to town featuring the younger Lily (Herb Hsu) as its leggy, midriff-baring lead. Diego and Lily form a quick friendship, and from there the plot is predictable. Not that it matters; the story's charm lies in its earnest emotions and not in intricate plotting, and the generous focus on the characters and actress Chao Yi-Lan's striking debut performance are worth noting. Drifting Flowers is Chao's first screen credit, and the presence and charisma she brings mark her as a talent to watch.

The best thing about Drifting Flowers is that it's a large improvement from the overstuffed and over-calculated Spider Lilies. Drifting Flowers has meaning, but it's gleamed from characters and situations, and not from obvious, over-extended metaphor or exotic, pretentious detail. There are some missteps; the film is hardly groundbreaking, plus it possesses one cloying self-referential moment, and the final wrap-up is unnecessary in how it tries to tie all three segments of the film together. Still, Zero Chou shows sensitivity towards her characters, and her exploration of their lives is illuminating enough to shine through any potential issues. Drifting Flowers feels compelling in its earnest sincerity, and its lack of overt film technique make it pleasant to simply observe and enjoy. Likewise, the portrait of rural Taiwan is fascinating in its cultural detail, and the cinematography and technical work is solid and pleasing to the senses. Drifting Flowers echoes the style of filmmaking that international audiences expect of art-oriented Taiwan Cinema, but it doesn't stray from the simple things, not becoming too abstract or too commercial. Like in Spider Lilies, Zero Chou seems to be exploring a personal theme, but in Drifting Flowers, the situations feel more credible and the characters less manufactured. Her improvement should be appreciated.

by Kozo -

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