New York Asian Film Festival 2012

Love in the Buff

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Love in the Buff
Chun giu yu chi ming | Pang Ho-cheung, 2012
Hong Kong | 106 minutes

In person: director Pang Ho-cheung!

Back in 2010, Pang Ho-cheung released Love in a Puff, about two people who meet in the alley behind their office during smoke breaks and fall in love. It was shot fast, had a sharp-edged script, and two likeable, scruffy lovebirds at its core: Shawn Yue (Infernal Affairs 2) and Miriam Yeung (Hong Kong’s comedy queen). As insubstantial and pleasant as a summer breeze, it became an unlikely hit and here’s the semi-sequel in which the two lovers try to make their relationship work. We wanted to show both movies back-to-back, but the distributor is asking an outrageous rental fee for Love in a Puff so we can’t show it—but don’t be scared! Before each screening of Buff we’ll summarize the first movie for you (with puppets!) in five minutes or less, so you can start Love in the Buff (the more accomplished of the two movies, anyways) completely up to speed.

When we last saw beauty products salesgirl Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and ad man Jimmy (Shawn Yue), everything was hearts and flowers. Now they’ve moved in together and are driving each other crazy, so they start a cycle of breaking up, getting back together, and then breaking up again. A corporate move to Beijing sees Miriam head out of town with her suitcases packed full of heartbreak, while a similar offer to relocate sends Shawn up north, too. Beijing’s a big city, their friends reassure them, they’ll never run into each other. And besides, aren’t they both seeing new people now?

Within weeks of arriving, however, they are stumbling over each other every time they turn around, and suddenly they’re cheating on their new partners. They still fight, they still argue, they still have flaws so irritating they feel like fiberglass poured down a sweaty back, but the kids can’t help it: they’re in love. Skewering Mainland culture with a razor sharp wit, director Pang Ho-cheung delivers a movie that is a reproach to the sloppy, lazy “romantic” comedies coming out of today’s Hollywood. Love in the Buff is a movie that believes in true love, but it also believes that it takes more than a musical montage and a race to the train station to achieve it. Real love is worth fighting for, and in Buff, the two leads fight for it with everything they’ve got.

Series: New York Asian Film Festival 2012

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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