Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taiwanese Film - "Fishing Luck" and Love in the Island

Ron Heung is Behong

Love turns idyllic in Wen-Chen Tseng's "Fishing Luck" when a pretty Taipei girl flies to picturesque Orchid Island to do test surveys for her mobile network. She hires the help of Behong (Biung Wang) for her transport needs, renting his newly restored, otherwise run-down Buick. But the fair urbanite Li Zing Zing (aka Ling) is carrying a baggage in the form of a testy relationship. Things don't exactly go her way when she loses her wallet, leaving her with nothing to pay for her hotel or anything else. Furthermore, she can't board the plane back to the big city without an identification card. Behong offers a room in his unfinished house. Meanwhile, Zing is stuck in this fishing village where life isn't equated in terms of money. You head to the ocean for food, or dig the lands for yam or sweet potato. It isn't hard to live off a simpler lifestyle.

When Zing finally lets go of her engagement ring (she throws it out to the sea), she also overcomes her fear of swimming (flashbacks show a traumatic event in the past involving her younger sister). But life isn't that easy. She would have to fly back to Taipei to face her predicament. What becomes of her growing affection with the endearing island boy Behong?

"Fishing Luck" gently treads romance like an unexpected touch. This isn't saying it is unpredictable, but the string of events unravel naturally you wouldn't notice exactly when the "loving" has commenced. I am particularly fond of its use of small island traditions: "fly fishing"; the single police officer who tickets bike drivers wearing no helmet (in an island that doesn't sell one); the daily serving of sweet potato instead of rice; the darker skin of the children who love the sea; and the romantic radio program that broadcasts song requests.

We were surprised to find Ron Heung here, the lead star in the risky, full-frontal Hong Kong drama, "City Without Baseball". In "Fishing Luck", he plays Behong.

Quiet films dispensing lessons on patience and loving are such a delight. Don't miss it at the 1st Taiwanese Film Festival at the Shangrila. Free admissions.

Zing and Behong

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