You are the Apple of my Eye (2011)
(Literal Chinese title: Those years when we chased that girl together)
Director: Giddens Ko ; Screenplay: Giddens Ko
Cast: Zhendong Ke, Michelle Chen, Ao-Chuan, Steven Hao, Tsai Chang-hsien
There are already plenty of reviews for this film out there so there likely isn’t much new that I can add but I enjoyed the film. Based on the director’s own autobiographical novel (he even gives the main character his real name) the universal themes of this work should easily resonate with those who have pursued that special girl but couldn’t quite attain her. Lest you think this is all tragic and bittersweet, think again as you can expect to see more than one group masturbation scene that will bewilder you. There is fair amount of amusingly crude humour due to the boys in the story although some jokes will probably not work depending on one’s sense of humour. Focus lies on the growing closeness between one of the boys, a childish rascal who hates studying that the serious, studious girl can’t help but grow to like. The actors that portray these two are very believable.
The film’s strength lies in capturing that youthful time in the past (in this case 90s Taiwan) when you just had carefree fun with friends while at the same time trying to solve the mystery of girls. The ending gets overly sentimental and lazy, literally repeating multiple scenes from earlier in the film (as if the audience has already forgotten) but does cleverly insert scenes that didn’t actually happen. They are scenes that could’ve happened in a parallel world if certain words had been spoken instead of withheld. These scenes and the hilarious incident that leads to them however do inevitably make for a satisfying conclusion. Trailer after the jump.
On a random note, the English subtitles do sometimes embellish the Chinese lines giving a particular emphasis or interpretation that isn’t apparent. It’s not necessarily inaccurate but it is jarring when “very pretty, very pretty / hao mei, hao mei” is translated into some overly lyrical sentence that uses none of the two Chinese words. If you know Mandarin or only know English then this won’t bother you at all.