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 feminine way.
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