EmptyHong Kong Filmart/HKIFF
HONG KONG -- "Candy Rain" is the kind of lesbian drama that Taiwan is quickly becoming known for with the unhurried pace and aimless narrative that defines many of Zero Chou's ("Spider Lilies") films, and the delicate humor of trifles like "Formula 17." But there's nothing truly new here. Those looking for a good deal more insight into the politics of living "out" in Taipei may want to look elsewhere. There are few Asian festivals that would give "Candy Rain" a pass, though theatrical release outside of Taiwan could be hampered by the casts' limited regional popularity and recognition.
Constructed as four vignettes, "Candy Rain" explores the relationships among young women in Taipei. The first couple is Jessie (Belle Hsin) and Pon (Grace Chen), the former being a small town girl that moves to Taipei to be with the latter. Jessie being a newcomer doesn't have the life in the big city that Pon does, and the stress of that threatens their burgeoning romance. Next up is U (Sandrine Pinna), an OCD chef, meticulously seeking a partner online. She meets a seemingly glamorous editor, Lin (Waa), but they soon come to the realization they work better apart.
The third, and strongest, segment involves true love torn apart by societal demands. Spancer (Niki Wu) and Summer (Kao I-Ling) are separated when Summer is forced to get married. Rounding out the quartet is Ricky (Karena Lam) and her seemingly endless capacity to involve herself in abusive and tragic relationships.
The stories are connected only by the physical space -- the same Taipei apartment -- and the fact that one character from each story invariably receives a candy delivery at some point, underscoring the film's slim premise that love is as varied as the proffered confectionary items. While the performances are adequate, no character as written by Chen and Lin Yan-Ru is vivid enough to make a significant impact on viewers other than Wu and Kao as the stable couple. Though there are some forced moments, Kao's unhappiness and Wu's frustration are moving, if a touch melodramatic. Thankfully, the two never slip all the way into histrionics.
A Red Society Films production
Sales: Three Dots Entertainment
Director: Chen Hung-I
Writer: Lin Yan-Ru, Chen Hung-I
Producer: Wei Ying-Chuan, Terrisa Chen
Executive producer: Zhang Mei-Ling
Director of photography: Fisher Yu
Production designer: Tsai Pei-Ling
Music: Chen Chien-Chi
Editor: Liu Chun-Hsiu, Chen Hung-I
Jessie: Belle Hsin
Pon: Grace Chen
U: Sandrine Pinna
Spancer: Niki Wu
Summer: Kao I-Ling
Ricky: Karena Lam
Ex No. 1: Cyndi Wang
Ex No. 2: Jozie Lu
Ex No. 3: Josephine Hsu
Running time -- 102 minutes
No MPAA rating