Cape No. 7 is Taiwan’s Titanic, not just because it smashed every domestic box-office record in the country except for… well, Titanic. It’s also has some funny characters and some great scenery (makes me want to go to southern Taiwan), and great music. My only gripe is how the main characters got together in the end.
And since gripes are what brings in the readers, I’ll start with that. Now, most people aren’t going care about what I think about the two Protagonists, Aga (played by my favorite Taiwanese singer, Van Fan) and Tomoko. People like good looking people getting together in movies. And Taiwanese people love it when local boy gets together with outsider Japanese girl. It’s just natural.
Right before they hooked up, the girl was yelling at the guy for being such a screw-up. Both then get wasted. The girl, being Japanese, takes drunkenness to a new level and really gets plastered. She goes to the guy’s house, wasted, and goes through all the emotional stages of drunkeness (anger, then sadness) before passing out. Guy finds her outside, take her to his bed, then when she wakes up, they fuck.
Girl wakes up, read some letters written over 60 years ago, then leaves with regret in her mind. Later on, she tells the guys shes going back to Japan. Guy then pulls off a successful concert with a band consisting of a cop, an old guy, a rice wine salesman, a motorcycle mechanic, and a 10 year old girl. That somehow convinces the girl to stay.
Did the producers cut out a lot of details in film, figuring it was inevitable that they were going to hook-up anyway? Maybe I should get the extended version and find out. There isn’t even like a montage of them doing shit together. Maybe when they were talking some shit about rainbows I missed the point.
Nonetheless, I thought it was a great movie, especially in how it dealt with how all the different ethnic groups got along. Taiwan, like most of Asia, also had a history of Japanese Imperialism. People still react emotionally to how society deals with their past relations with the Japanese. I’m just glad they manage to get Taiwanese, Mainland Chinese, and Japanese together without much conflict. It’s not a movie that can be made in China or Korea and be wildly successful.
I plan to watch it again, just to make sense of all the themes presented. Pretty much everyone will have to read the subtitles, as the movie is done in Japanese and two Chinese dialects (the only trilingual character in the movie is the old guy). The music is pretty good too, combining traditional Chinese music with something like the alternative music scene (Chi-alt?).
Update: Another movie I can compare to is High School Musical. A bunch of different people get together to throw a concert. Instead of school cliques, it’s ethnic groups. Also why Taiwanese people are lapping this movie up.
Update Again: Upon further examination, I can deduce what’s happening. So Tomoko is angry at Aga because she thinks he’s a screw-up. When she discovers that he isn’t, she falls in love, because for once something is going her way. Aga falls in love because he thinks she believe their band has a good chance to succeed. I don’t about you. But in America, these guys are what you ladies call “friends”. Women do not hook up with “friends” in this country. Maybe if I were in Taiwan, I’d get laid more often (you know, from zero). I guess it HAS to happen that they stay together so that history doesn’t repeat itself. It still seems unrealistic to me. Enough about myself, I still think the movie is pretty good. Now I got to be a good Chinese boy and figure out how to make a working copy of this movie.