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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Movies -> 
Murmur of the Hearts
    2015-05-15  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    STRIVING for an elegiac tone, Sylvia Chang’s return to directing (after 2008’s “Run Papa Run”) crushes a delicate story of siblings separated after their parents’ breakup inside a spaghetti junction of flash-backs, sidebars, dream sequences, apparitions and magical realism. The Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based actress/director who co-scripted “Murmur of the Hearts” with Taiwan-based Japanese actor Yukihiko Kageyama pulls a moving finale out of her flights of fancy, but the journey there can be wearing, its vagaries emphasized by Chen Yang’s repetitive score.

    The film centers on Mei (Isabella Leong), a painter who has a troubled relationship with her boxer boyfriend Hsiang (Joseph Chang). Gruff and reticent, Hsiang is not a particularly talented fighter and channels most of his energy into training. The couple’s lustful rendezvous, which are against the coach’s orders, accentuate their solitude and alienation.

    Mei’s occasional emotional outbursts don’t make things better. “I was seeing a man with no shadow walking past me,” she says over a payphone to her lover, who is preoccupied with his own thoughts.

    The scene, occurring early in the movie, heralds the supernatural incidents that follow.

    In Mei’s recurrent childhood memories on Green Island, her loving mother Jen (Lee Sinje) tells her and her older brother Nan (Lawrence Ko) a fairy tale about a mermaid every night. During the day, the children catch beached fish and throw them back into the sea as if they are “angels,” as the mother gently calls them.

    Now living in Taipei, Mei is beset by unresolved feelings toward her dead mother, who left her boorish husband and took the little girl with her to Taiwan proper.

    Nan, who was left behind, grows up to become a tour guide on Green Island, a place where political prisoners were held during the Martial Law era, and cannot resolve whether or not to look for his sister and mother, whose death remains unknown to him.

    Hsiang, too, has his own ghosts from the past. The childhood memory of his long-dead father, a sailor who was rarely home and eventually drowned at sea, pushes Hsiang to pursue boxing — a career he believes his father wanted him to pursue.

    Crippled by their anger, confusion and remorse, the three take different paths to come to terms with the past, leading to a somewhat predictable reconciliation, though one that is genuinely moving.

    The script by Sylvia Chang and Yukihiko Kageyama moves between symbolism, melodrama and fantasy. At times, scenes are heavily laced with expository dialogue, leaving little to the imagination and leading to sequences that drag on and emotions that are repetitive and tedious. But when the director does it right, the film sparkles with poetry.

    It’s no exaggeration to say that “Murmur of the Hearts” belongs to the actors as much as, if not more than, the director. Making a comeback to the silver screen, Hong Kong actress Leong imbues her role as a damaged, slightly neurotic woman with a subtle sensibility. Taiwan’s Joseph Chang dives into the dark side, gathering enough sensitivity to create an entirely believable man fighting his demons.

    Jen, like many of Sylvia Chang’s most sympathetic heroines, yearns to be free from a stifling relationship. While the fragmented flashbacks of a love affair reveal little of her inner world, Lee has an ethereal presence, as if she exists only in the memories of her children.

    At the most poignantly tender moments of the film, the mother returns in Nan’s dream. In his childhood home, the son, all grown up, meets his youthful mother. They talk, feeling the quiet, aching longing in every word they utter. It is a moment that transcends reality and lingers long after the credits.

    The movie is now being screened in Shenzhen.

    (SD-Agencies)

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