Weaving together the themes of Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' and the rich visual style of Wong Kar-Wai, Lou Ye's film tells the story of the young lovers Mardar (Jia Hongsheng) and Moudan (Zhou Xun). Mardar is a small-time crook and Moudan is his boss' teenage daughter; they meet when he is asked to act as her minder and a romance quickly develops between them. However, he is soon persuaded to kidnap her and when she hears of this her heartbreak is such that she throws herself into the depths of the Suzhou River. Sometime later, after a spell in prison, the devastated Mardar meets Meimei, a nightclub dancer who bears a striking resemblance to his lost love....
A film from China directed by Lou Ye, Suzhou River
is a story of doomed romantic love very different from the social realism of many contemporary Chinese films. Set in modern Shanghai, it's about Mardar, a motorcycle courier who gets involved with Moudan, the daughter of a businessman. When she learns he's implicated in a scheme to kidnap her, she jumps off a bridge into the river. Devastated, Mardar refuses to believe Moudan has drowned and eventually thinks he's found her, now performing a mermaid act in a sleazy bar. But the narrator of the story tells him she's Meimei, another woman. Which of them is right? The story has strong echoes of the Hitchcock classic Vertigo
, in which James Stewart searches for his lost love. Stylishly shot, teasingly told, this is an intriguing film with a melancholy ending, though Zhou Xun, who plays both female parts, doesn't quite have the charisma of Vertigo
's Kim Novak. --Ed Buscombe
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.