films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Solid pieces

Wrath of Desire

2020 / 118m - Taiwan
Romance, Thriller
Wrath of Desire poster

It's been a while since I watched anything by Zero Chou. She made a name for herself with Spider Lilies, but didn't manage to keep the momentum going. After a lot of TV work, Chou is finally back with a theatrical release. And she made it count too. Wrath of Desire isn't perfect, but it's very intense.

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Phoenix kills a thief who broke into her house, but she is convicted for the crime anyway. In court, she meets Jade. Jade is supposed to be the prosecutor, but the two have a sensual night together, complicated the case. Jade had a very strict upbringing though, and she can't just admit she's gay, leaving Phoenix hanging.

Chou struggles with the budget, but she makes the scenes that matter count. The performances are decent, the characters are intriguing, and the plot is full of surprises. Wrath of Desire is a gripping romantic drama with solid mystery and thriller elements to push the intrigue, no doubt knocking down some taboos in the process.

Ripples of Desire

Hua Yang
2012 / 122m - Taiwan
Romance, Drama
Ripples of Desire poster

Stylishly directed romance. Performances are more than solid and the film looks lush from start to finish, but the plot is a bit too basic and the drama isn't always fetching. Some details (like the setting and illness) add a novel twist to the film, but it's not enough to turn it into a bona fide masterpiece. Very nice though.

Spider Lilies

Ci Qing
2007 / 94m - Taiwan
Drama, Romance
Spider Lilies poster

The film that introduced me to Zero Chou. I was quite taken with this little drama the first time I watched it, revisiting the film left me slightly disappointed. Not that this is a bad film, far from it, but Spider Lilies had a much harder time distinguishing itself from its peer. No doubt because of the tons of dramas I watched since.

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Jade is a young girl trying to make a buck through some online chat rooms. Tattoos are all the rage and to keep herself in fashion, she decides to get one too. That's how she bumps into Takeko, her first crush. Jade is determined to explore her love for Takeko, but she doesn't seem too interested in opening up.

Performances are solid, and the drama is decent enough, but the relationship between the two women is a bit basic and the styling of the film isn't too exceptional either. It's one of those films where there's nothing specifically bad, it just lacks anything that sets is apart from the pack.