Love Under a Rosy Sky
Review by YTSL
In some of her old Taiwanese films (e.g., "Run
Lover Run" and "Morning Fog"), Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia exhibits that quality
which makes one understand what Tsui Hark meant when he said of her that:
"She has a very carefree, masculine spirit like a boy, but she's a girl"
(In the Stanley Kwan-directed "Yang +/- Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema"
documentary that's part of the British Film Institute's 1995 commemoration
of one hundred years of movie-making). That is far from the case
though in this highly melodramatic weepie that dates from 1979. Indeed,
when watching that which initially had the then twenty-five year old in
the role of a high school student, this (re)viewer found herself almost
doubting that its beautiful but frail appearing female lead was/is the
same actress that many (non-Asian) Hong Kong movie fans look upon as the
archetypal cross-dressing woman warrior!
In LOVE UNDER THE ROSY SKY, Brigitte Lin's character
-- who goes by the name of Yin Tsai Chin -- is a gentle and sweet young
thing who has loved the artistic and sensitive soul played for the bulk
of the film by Chin Han since she was six years of age, and who wants nothing
much more than for them to have happy times inside and outside of their
"love nest". However, several obstacles and people lie in the way.
Among the more notable are: Tsai Chin's rough father (who is not
adverse to beating her when she disobeys his order to not see her beloved
Chiao Shu Pei); his ogre of a first wife (Tsai Chin's mother is the put
upon "second wife"); Brigitte's character's trouble-making step-brother;
the lawyer our seemingly luckless heroine is made to be a "concubine" of
in return for his services to her father; and Shu Pei's honorable single
The scraps and troubles Tsai Chin and Shu Pei
get into while they are still at school -- and living in a part of the
country where they can conveniently meet and spend time together by the
sea -- are nothing compared to what happens after they move away:
She rather mysteriously, abruptly and at first to parts unknown; he to
attend university in Taipei. Before too long in the film (but actually
some years later in the story), their paths do cross once more.
At first, all is well, and LOVE UNDER A ROSY SKY's
viewers are treated to the immensely pleasurable sight of a radiantly smiling
Brigitte (and a Chin Han who looks glad to be with the woman about whom
someone opined that: "You gave drops of joy to all near you").
Too soon though, money and other matters shatter the couple's contentment
and joy at being in each other's devoted company. Further, the bullying
step-brother re-enters the darkened picture which already threatens to
be too crowded; what with its coming to include such as a female college-mate
of Shu Pei and a male colleague at the restaurant where Tsai Chin gets
a job playing the electric organ and singing during the evenings...
In recalling and writing all this, there is a
part of me that can't quite believe how much I got suck(er)ed into caring
about the trials, tribulations and fates of the pretty pathetic main character(s)
of this eventful movie (For the record: LOVE UNDER THE ROSY SKY's
female protagonist bursts into tears about seven times, is beaten by men
three times and faints twice in about 100 minutes of film). Chalk
this down to the undeniably strong effect and impact that Brigitte Lin
has on my emotional state as well as this being one of the better paced,
etc. of her c. 1970s works that this Brigittephile has viewed thus far.
Still, I do realize that there are people who may not be as enamored or
tolerant of viewing that whose makers seemed to have really strived to
put one through the emotional wringer. As such, perhaps the key criteria
that needs to be examined before checking out this offering is: How
much are you willing to put up with to behold the wondrous sight of the
then young and truly heartbreakingly adorable Brigitte Lin?!
My rating for this film: 5.5 (but minus
2 points if you're not a Brigitte fanatic who would willingly watch her
water the lawn for 2 hours...)