Director: Xin Lee (2001)
How refreshing to have a movie titled so honestly, for Xin Lee's Berlin Festival-entrant Dazzling production will certainly leave you awe-struck with its pristine beauty and sly, touching charm.
Heavily influenced by, but by no means derivative of, respected classics such as David Lynch, Wim Wenders and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Dazzling brings home movie making of supreme intelligence and savvy conduct, belonging to an ilk seldom seen in filmdom.
Shot humbly in Shanghai (minus obvious, hyperbole frames of the city's numerous architectural wonders), it dishes out hallucinatory tales dreamt up by a movie theater attendant (Wu La La, who also recorded the film's sound) slightly obsessed with finding love amid life's treacherous obstructions. Somehow two stranded angels (Zhuang Min and Cui Zonglu) on a matchmaking mission also become entwined in the whole deliciously addictive mess, helping showcase our reality's often bewildering, but hopefully sweet, fabric.
Through a multiple-plot structure, staggeringly clever visuals and an awesome soundtrack (by Xiao Min and Dou Wei), Dazzling becomes one of those rare gems capable of being utterly cool without overly striving for wannabe hip status, a la some Quentin Tarantino films we'll be better off not mentioning. Although it leaves an overall somber impression, via its emphasis on the irony of living and loving Dazzling succeeds in generating truly humorous, uplifting moments, so please don't worry about getting depressed or anything. Actually, its ending will pleasantly surprise you.
Since it pulls duty as a sci-fi, social commentary and tear-jerker epic simultaneously, Dazzling will attract a wide variety of audiences. Heck, it'll attract anyone with a heart.
(cityweekend.com.cn February 19, 2004)