Film: Temptress Moon Chen Kaige (15)

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The cinematographer Christopher Doyle is best known for demolishing stylistic conventions at a rate of one per minute through his work for the director Wong Kar-Wai (Fallen Angels was their most innovative collaboration). Without the extraordinary images he contributes to Temptress Moon, I think the film would fall to pieces. Chen Kaige, the director of Farewell My Concubine, busies himself with a soap-opera plot - a gigolo-cum-gangster (Leslie Cheung) returns to the family estate that was the background to his dreadful childhood, with instructions to bring it to its knees.

This is all as unengaging as it is overblown, but Doyle appeals to the senses with tricks and compositions that might have been pulled from a magician's trunk, letting a shot slip out of focus or into dreamy slow- motion as if by accident. His visuals provide a suitable look for a film whose characters frequently surrender to the pleasures of opium.

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