The heart wants what the heart wants
|Aidil Rusli loves rock 'n' roll, still believes in the words "indie" and "underground", and after all these years still sings in his band Couple myspace.com/couple. You can get in touch with Aidil by emailing: [email protected]|
APRIL 21 — In 2010 I walked into the cinema to see a Hong Kong film called “Love In A Puff”, not knowing much about it except that it was directed by Pang Ho Cheung, an up-and-coming young Hong Kong film-maker I’ve been keeping an eye on ever since I saw his debut “You Shoot I Shoot” and his many other interesting and strong films afterwards like “AV”, “Men Suddenly In Black” and “Isabella.”
I walked out of the cinema afterwards head over heels in love with “Love In A Puff”, a romantic comedy so spot on about modern-day mating rituals, that I ended up watching the movie at least three or four more times the same year on DVD. I even found Miriam Yeung (who played the heroine Cherie and whom I’ve never fancied before in her other roles) to be irresistibly attractive because of the film.
A chat with a friend who attended the Hong Kong International Film Festival a few weeks back got me unreasonably excited when he mentioned that there’s now a sequel called “Love In The Buff” making its world premiere there (which he didn’t catch).
As I was attending a press screening for a movie at GSC Mid Valley last week, I could barely contain my excitement when I saw a huge bunting hanging on their wall advertising the film’s release here on 19 April 2012. I desperately asked my press friends if they knew of any press screenings for the movie as I badly wanted to see it as soon as possible.
Fortune smiled on me as I finally got my wish to see the movie on Tuesday alongside contest winners for a local Chinese radio station. “Love In A Puff” was shown uncensored in the cinemas here, despite the fact that there’s a healthy amount of hilarious expletives in the language (and in the English subtitles), but if you purchase the original DVD you’ll find that the censors’ scissors have somehow worked their magic there.
So I was a bit disappointed to find out that “Love In The Buff” will only be shown with Malay subtitles here as the English subtitles have turned out to be too racy to avoid censorship this time. But since there’s no way that I could even stand waiting for a further few months for the DVD to come out to watch it with proper English subtitles, I gamely dived in to watch it anyway, Malay subtitles and all, as I’m sure anyone who’s ever paid attention to Malay subtitles in local cinemas will know how horrendously (and hilariously) translated some of them are.
Thankfully the Malay subtitles for this one are not bad at all, as I managed to catch and laugh at most of the jokes together with the mostly Chinese audience. As expected, some parts went untranslated, probably due to the naughty jokes, but in general it was quite pleasingly easy watching it with Malay subtitles.
The first film chronicled the first seven days of Cherie and Jimmy’s courtship, and this follow-up starts a few months later as the lovers have happily moved in together and chronicles their relationship further down the road.
If the first movie was wonderfully wise and spot on about how people in this age of cell phones and permissive sexual attitudes hook up, this follow-up homes in on more painful areas of modern relationships, as Cherie and Jimmy find balancing love and their careers as tough as we do find it in the real world.
Cleverly echoing events in the first film, in which they first hooked up while one of them was still in a relationship with someone else, they break up early on in the film only to find themselves naturally attracted to each other all over again, even if they’ve both moved on and found someone new.Sort of like a modern update of the comedies of remarriage that were once staples of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood screwball comedies (like “The Awful Truth” and “His Girl Friday”), the film is never less than delightfully and naughtily funny, but this time around there’s a real strong tinge of sadness and regret to it that makes it feel even weightier and wiser than its excellent predecessor, especially when you consider the fact Cherie and Jimmy’s new lovers are nicer people.
There’s not even a whiff of the easy solution that Hollywood rom-coms always take of making the rival lovers annoying or bad people. Love here is complicated, painful and quite rightly irrational. And just like in real life, sometimes you just can’t help who you end up loving. There are surely nicer people out there, people who’ll definitely treat you better, who are smarter, funnier, maybe more stable emotionally or financially, but in the end matters of the heart are never dictated by formulas. The same goes for this wonderful sequel.