(Dateline Taipei part 12)
I was disappointed. I could no longer find You Are The Apple of My Eye in the theater listing on the newspapers. I thought, well, it’s been screening for months now, fat chance I’d have been able to catch it.
When I interviewed Angie Cai in January this year, Apple was already in post-production but they were just waiting for a play date. She was very excited about it. In fact, during our first meeting a year before, she was already talking excitedly on how she has just signed up Giddens Ko into her company.
She looked at me as if I have been living under a rock. He’s a popular writer. She mentioned Nine Knives or something. She even took me out of her office to check if he was in, in his office just next door to hers. But he wasn’t, too bad I couldn’t meet him.
So he is this guy.
When I met Angie again during my recent trip to Taipei, of course, Apple was the main topic (I will blog separately on “behind the story”). She asked me if I have watched it, I said it’s not showing anymore. She said there are still theaters screening it and she asked her secretary to look for it. Secretary comes back minutes later with the name of the theater and the screening time. Cool, the interns who were assisting me said it was just near where I was staying. So I decided to watch it after the interview.
To my surprise as we were heading out of the Comic Ritz office, Angie gave me three tickets for the interns and I. I wanted to hug her but I’m still shy despite knowing her for some time.
We rushed out to hail a taxi with only half an hour left before the screening time. We managed to convince Angela, one of the interns, to watch it again. It was going to be Alicia’s second Taiwanese movie ever (she can’t even remember the first). This girl, I would love to change locations with her, if I live in Taipei, I’d watch all the local movies. But maybe not. Who knows.
Angela said that the first time she watched, she was seated next to a girl who cried her eyes out. So we were sort of warned and joked that it wouldn’t be embarrassing to cry since there probably would be just a few people.
We were wrong. Five months on, the theater that we went to at Ximending was still nearly full. I’m sure many of them were repeaters. I know of friends who watched the movie many times.
I knew it would be good. Word of mouth is always the best gauge and not the
praise press releases. And even if I’m not Taiwanese and a guy, I can still relate to the story. After all, we all went through high school before. We fell in love. And as Angie noted, the reason why many men could relate to the story and cried, is because once in their lives they had this innocent love with a girl.
What I like though about Apple is, it does not fall headlong into melodrama nor sappy territory. Its narrative is very fresh injected with doses of humor and quirkiness, but without being corny. And the biggest factor that makes it work is because the cast, except for Michelle Chen, are unfamiliar faces. For the role of Ko-teng, for example, if it was played by someone the audience was familiar with already, he wouldn’t have been a fresh character.
This is my favorite scene from the movie:
Now I can totally understand when a friend told me that it resonates with everyone. For those who have been there, done that, it reminds us of our dreams when we were young, the foolish things that we did… that first girl…or boy… who made us look forward to another dreary day in school. For those who are going through the same life experience at the moment–even if two decades apart–it tells them that being foolish and crazy are part of life and that we grow up. Maybe.
That final scene was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. When Ko-teng sees the apple of his eye walk down the aisle to be somebody else’s bride, I was the girl sniffing beside Angela. Especially when Ko-teng said something like this (damn, I lost my notes, I thought I tweeted it):
“When you see the person you love getting married… you’d wish her happiness because you’d want her to be happy.”
I don’t think I will be as generous and mature as Ko-teng though.
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