The Personals (Zheng Hun Qi Shi)

Sometimes it’s nice to see a film at a festival, but it’s hard to share your love about it. The movie got a limited release at best and it may not even be available on dvd. And yes, you can wait for a tv broadcast, but that doesn’t do you any good if the networks don’t seem to pick up on the movie.
Ages ago, I saw a Taiwanese movie at the Ghent Film Festival and that’s about the last I’d heard of it. Luckily, I wrote a review about it at the time. You see I’d forgotten about the film and stumbling upon that review, suddenly the movie worked its way back into my head. One quick internet search later, it turns out that the movie can now be watched at Mubi and that there is a dvd release in Asia (with English subtitles). Looks about the right time to dig up that review then…

When I saw the movie at the Ghent Film Festival, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I knew was that it was going to be the story of a woman who wants to get married and hopes to find the ideal man through a personal ad. A lot of time is spent on her sitting in a bar and talking to the men who answered the ad.
This way the film wants to give us an idea of what life is like in Taiwan.

Though this promises to be either very interesting or very boring, the result is that you are watching a film which can somehow move you, but at the same time you regret that it isn’t more than only slightly moving. As the story continues and we meet weirdo after weirdo (a lot of these men are fun to watch), we learn that she once had a lover who abandoned her to return to his wife.
There is a lot more to the story, but I don’t want to spoil the ending. She regularly phones her ex-lover to tell him how much she misses him and how none of the men can compare to him, but he is never home so she tells her story to his answering machine. This second story is more intriguing than the first and it’s a pity that the story can’t fully grip you.

But still, Zheng Hun Qi Shi is interesting and well worth its 7/10.

Interested? Here’s the link to MUBI.


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