In this edition of Treasure Hunt, we review 2003’s “Cell Phone,” a Chinese film that’s difficult to locate, but worth the effort:
Licentious men, beware. If your mistress takes you on, you don’t stand a chance.
Loquacious TV host Yan Shouyi believes he can equivocate his way to heaven. Quick-witted, humorous and cultured, Yan is not short of admirers. And in his forties, Yan’s natural gifts have made him bold.
Happily married to gentle but unsophisticated Yu Wenjuan, Yan craves for little “adventures”. And in every minute Yan spends with the ravishingly gorgeous Wu Yue, he feels next to heavenly ecstasy.
But Yan is careful to hide his adulterous mischief. He will meticulously obliterate from his treasured cell phone every message, text and voice, every record of incoming out-going calls, and every “suspicious” e-mail.
And after each of their brief amorous “rendezvous” inside his BMW, Yan will take a long detour alone to the edge of Beijing and back, with every car windows fully winded down. This is his wicked scheme to let the bone-chilling north China wind wipe out the fragrance of Wu Yue’s perfume, cleanse the last trace of her bodily scent and remove whatever aroma one can still imagine lingering. Back home, Yan will plunge to the bath at the very first opportunity…
Wu Yue seems happy, and Wenjuan is in the dark. What better joy can Yan find than the thrill of sin?
Yet complacency and insensitivity are perhaps Yan’s fatal blunders. For Wu is obviously not happy.
The fact is, a woman’s youth does not last. When passion is over, a woman will see sense. Wu Yue wants more than being Yan’s mistress. She wants something that Yan, or any wedded man with a decent income and stable career, can afford to give.
And Wu Yue turns angry… and jealous.
Yan Shouyi is too late to realize his funeral toll chimes when, one day, he left his cell phone at home, and it begins to ring….
“Cell Phone” is a Chinese comedy-drama directed by Feng Xiaogang and starring Ge You as Yan Shouyi, Zhang Lu as Yu Wenjuan and Fan Bingbing as Wu Yue. This film stirred a nation-wide sensation when first released in 2003. Apart from the clever plots and unexpected twists, the film portrays a realistic cross-section of modern Chinese middle-class living.
Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): 3.5 Whistles
How to Watch:
It’s not easy. While an English sub-titled version came out on VCD, we found one copy on eBay.
Lead-in Image Courtesy of MGM