Originally Posted by Malmordo
FIRST LOVE: THE LITTER ON THE BREEZE (1997)
Character actor Eric Kot Man-fai (who you may remember as the obnoxious DJ Soft in CITY HUNTER) directed this Hong Kong romantic comedy with what appears to be leftover material from CHUNGKING EXPRESS and FALLEN ANGELS, using two of the cast members, cinematographer, and Wong Kar-wai/Jet Tone backing the project.
Kot, wearing a huge afro wig and sunglasses, narrates and interrupts Godard-style. The opening is a mess of behind-the-scenes footage and abandoned story threads. The film eventually settles into a pair of quirky, unrequited love stories: in the first, Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a garbageman seeing a pretty young mainlander who sleepwalks; in the second, a married grocery store owner (Kot again) believes the woman (Karen Mok) he jilted ten years ago is stalking him and his family.
The film plays like an extended parody of Kar-wai cinema. Kaneshiro is playing a variation on his wacky, loveless loner and there are references to CHUNGKING EXPRESS, ASHES OF TIME, and more. Attempts at a meta statement land with a thud, Kot's intrusions are annoying, and I had no investment in the characters because the movie is an elaborate (unfunny) in-joke. It might be even more insular than FULL FRONTAL.
Christopher Doyle's photography and the stars (Kaneshiro, Mok, and radiant Lee Wai-wai as the sleepwalker) make it bearable, and there are some eye-catching HK locations.
I don't know how much of a release this got overseas, and I doubt if many Kar-wai fans even know of its existence. That's probably a good thing.
Available on Region 2 from Artificial Eye.
In 1998, the Mei Ah release of this was one of the first 10 DVDs I ever bought. It's kind of mind-boggling that it was seen as worth picking up by Artificial Eye, and I say that as someone who liked the film. It's definitely not for everyone. It's not even for very many someones
and it never crossed my mind that it might end up getting a release outside of Hong Kong.
This film always felt kind of like it has a commentary track that you can't turn off. I like how it starts off showing you what it isn't, but might have been, before settling down (sort of) into what it actually is. Both of the stories that eventually form out of this chaos work, but the one about the sleepwaking girl and the garbage collector is the one that sticks out in my memory. I ought to revisit this film at some point, it's been so many years since I watched it.
Eric Kot's 2001 follow-up DRAGON HEAT (the title of which was stolen by Bey Logan and the Weinsteins for the US release of the 2005 movie DRAGON SQUAD) is a thousand times more spastic. I admire it for managing to exist, but it's a genuinely difficult film to endure, one designed to not just trigger a seizure in the viewers brain, but to trigger a new, never-before-seen kind of seizure.