The Wild Goose on the Wing
The first glance of Brigitte Lin in one of her
films from her pre-1980 Taiwanese period usually gives a hint of what’s
to come – will it be a maudlin melodramatic weepie or one of her light
pouty faced comedies. Dressed in long black leather stiletto heeled boots,
a sleek knee length black trench coat, all topped by a black beret made
me fairly sure we were in for either a weepie or a French existentialist
parody. Not too surprisingly it was the former!
There are a number of small things to enjoy in
this film. For Brigittophiles such as myself, we don’t really expect to
like these early films in their totality – but we find moments to treasure
– an expression, her fashion sense, a subtle gesture, a tear slowly finding
its way down her perfect face, running towards her boyfriend at an awkward
gallop, a heart-stopping close-up. There are a number of these moments
in this film.
Here she alternates between two different “characters”
– each with its own personality and more important its own wardrobe. So
she gets to dress up in elegant black somber outfits and then in garish
multi-colored ensembles. She has a collection of terrific head gear as
well. And never has smoking looked so good. Watching her smoke long thin
European cigarettes in profile made me almost want to take it up.
Brigitte returns to Taipei like an “angel of death”
as she calls herself after having spent the last number of years in London
studying acting. While overseas her beloved sister died of a “heart attack”,
but Brigitte doesn’t believe it for a second and begins an investigation.
She starts with her sister’s boyfriend, Chin Han, and begins to seduce
him with whisky and negligees. Soon he is passionately in love with her.
A bit creepy from my perspective – loving the sister of his dead love and
promising to take care of her – but he partly feels like it is his obligation
– though somehow I doubt he would have felt this way if she hadn’t looked
like Brigitte! Slowly the truth starts to be revealed – and Brigitte begins
to believe that Chin drove her to suicide. She plans revenge in her own
Chin Han has a younger innocent brother and Brigitte
changes identity by donning a wig, jeans and a new quirky bubbly personality
and drives him mad with love. Can she drive him to suicide and cause Chin
Han the same pain as she felt? Chin Han figures it out and goes to
Brigitte and says to her “You're the greatest actress I've seen”. Ah, he
may have something there.
I’d like to say that Chin Han was not Brigitte
worthy – as very few men are – but regrettably in real life Brigitte didn't
realize this. The two of them had an affair and as he was a married man
it almost destroyed Brigitte’s career when it was revealed to the public.
Perhaps in the long run though it made Brigitte stronger and gave her the
fortitude to become Asia the Invincible!
My rating for this film: 5.5