You are currently displaying Big5
UO (1998)
The Poet

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/02/2001
Summary: the poet

I almost left my seat 20 minutes after watching it. Although it is a true story, I found it really hard to believe, and the acting was worse than anything (and let’s not start with the English dialogue, please!)
1/10 (I paid for it!)

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 01/09/2000
Summary: Failed bio -pic

I'm unhappy to report that it's hard to conceive of this film as other than an out-and-out failure. The filmmakers apparently were aiming for an art house feature, based on the dramatic life and death of famous Chinese poet Gu Cheng. But the result could better be described as a television-style biography-of-the-month, with art house pretentions. Gu Cheng's story is certainly irresistible to film: from a family persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, he developed into perhaps the most famous of the "Misty Poets" who flourished in the relatively open cultural climate of the early 80s. He emigrated to New Zealand with his wife and his lover, to disport in a garden of Eden of their own creation, but found no peace. Increasingly unstable, Gu Cheng stopped writing poetry: things deteriorate from there.

A very talented crew doesn't seem to have been able to rescue the resultant screenplay: melodramatic life-of-troubled-artist scenes alternate with oddly unerotic sexual interludes (with Stephen Fung and dubbed Japanese actress Ayako Morino) and portentously "poetic" observations of the Gu Cheng character. Stephen Fung may be able to play a narcissistic male prostitute (see above), but he's not up to this complex role. Theresa Lee, who is normally a fine actress, has no room to maneuver here: it sounds like most of her dialogue is dubbed by someone else (although she did her own Mandarin dialogue in Jacob Cheung's The Intimates (1997)).