My Missing Valentine (Xiao shi de qing ren jie)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Year Released: 2020, 2023 Synergetic Distribution DVD
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director(s): Chen Yu-hsun
Writer(s): Chen Yu-hsun
Cast: Kuan-Ting Liu, Patty Pei-Yu Lee, Duncan Lai, Joanne Missingham
Language: Chinese (Mandarin) with English subtitles
Where To Watch: available now at www.mvdshop.com or www.amazon.com
RAVING REVIEW: Step into this unique yet familiar world as we traverse the delicate boundaries of reality and fantasy in this underrated Taiwanese film, MY MISSING VALENTINE. Directed by Chen Yu-hsun, this film offers a heartwarming mixture of romance and comedy, pulling at your heartstrings as it navigates a peculiar time anomaly. Very reminiscent of some of the more well-known modern anime’s SUZUME, YOUR NAME, RIDE YOUR WAVE, WEATHERING WITH YOU, and more but in live action.
Set within the kinetic cityscape of Taipei and the soothing serenity of the Dongshi District, our protagonist, Yang Hsiao-chi, plays an endearing postal clerk who gets thrown a curveball by the cosmos. Her humdrum life flips on its head when she wakes up one day to discover she has lost an entire day - the highly anticipated Valentine's Day, no less!
Under the wonderfully dreamlike direction of Chen, MY MISSING VALENTINE is a magical realist odyssey. Despite occasional lapses in narrative structure, the film stands its ground, bagging numerous awards and firmly planting itself in the pantheon of some of the greats. The fantasy-like plotline and creative storytelling helped propel the film to the spotlight, securing accolades at prestigious international platforms like the Busan International Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards.
MY MISSING VALENTINE is a complex journey that exalts the importance of personal identity and memories. Chen integrates elements from traditional Taiwanese folklore with time-honored romantic comedy tropes, thereby forging a unique narrative. Despite her lost day, Hiao-chi's resilience forms an additional layer of depth. This theme blends romantic relationships, highlighting the importance of these personal connections, even amidst the craziness of the time-related chaos.
The narrative takes a sudden detour to explore A Tai's past; a character brilliantly brought to life by Kuan-Ting Liu. His measured performance imbues a sense of balance to the film's human storyline. This revelation helps unravel the mysteries surrounding Hiao-chi's missing day and uncovers an intriguing link between the characters.
Under Chen's direction, the film interweaves various technical and artistic components to craft a movie I won’t soon forget, and one I most definitely wasn’t expecting. With MY MISSING VALENTINE, we get a tale of love that transcends temporal and spatial boundaries. Despite its surreal realism and various layers, the film always pursues its core themes.
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[photo courtesy of SYNERGETIC DISTRIBUTION/MVD ENTERTAINMENT]