When WOLF Falls In Love With SHEEP
Opens 6 December 2012
Brief Coarse Language
Genre Comedy, Romance
Duration 86 mins
LanguageMandarin with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director Hou Chi-Jan 侯季然
Cast Kai Ko Chen-Tung 柯震东, Chien Man-Shu 简嫚书, Kou Shu-Yau 郭书瑶
The Story
Tung’s love has gone!

Clenching the note left by his ex-girlfriend in his hand, heart-broken Tung (Kai Ko) arrives in Nanyang Street. As the note says, “I’m off to the cram school”, Tung comes to Nanyang Street, a byword for cram schools in Taipei. In the street bustling with businesses, Tung begins to work in a photocopy shop as fate dictates. Every day, Tung photocopies tons of exam papers while expecting to run into Ying, his ex-girlfriend, at some point.

One day, the exam papers from Bisheng School catch Tung’s attention - a sheep in a monologue appears on the back of the paper every day. The sheep turns out to be a creation of Yang, a teaching assistant in the cram school. Yang (Chien Man-Shu) is an eccentric girl with whimsical ideas. She dreams of becoming an illustrator, but the harsh reality traps her in the school. The back of the exam papers becomes her canvas where she keeps her dream alive. Yang hopes that the students would respond to her “South Sheep Farm”, but so far her sheep has been completely ignored. Actually, these seemingly cute innocuous illustrations are a tool that Yang uses to countdown to a fresh new start after she was dumped by her ex-boyfriend.

One afternoon Tung draws a Big Bad Wolf next to the Sheep and writes a humorous comment on the paper. It begins as a private joke, but the exam papers are copied and sent back to the school by accident. No one could expect that the Big Bad Wolf would trigger such enthusiastic response from the students! More and more animals join in the conversations between the Big Bad Wolf and the Sheep and bring the “South Sheep Farm” to life!

A debate over love is launched on paper. It smokes the all the unique characters out of their dens in Nanyang Street. There are the crazy but kind-hearted street chief, the shrew and yet caring salesgirl, the mysterious priest with a soft heart and the pensive fried rice street vendor. The encounter with these people gradually changes Tung’s view on love. Moreover, the love that Tung is blinded to begins to surge to the surface. Still confused about love, can Tung say his final goodbye to his first love and move on to the next relationship?
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Review (1)Back To Top
By Jason Lin
7 Dec 2012
Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Chi-Jan should be relatively new to most but for the initiated, you might recall his debut feature One Day that screened at the Singapore International Film Festival 2011. It is arguably by this opinion, a novel genre creation that fuses minute aspects of romance, science fiction, and mystery.

It is with such an impressionable premise that incites the expectation of his second full-length feature produced under the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion When WOLF Falls in Love With SHEEP. Quite a mouthful phrase as its film title, it hints exactly what one might anticipate - a whimsical and capricious romance tale that feels like it's set within an urban fairy tale land.

WOLF draws certain inspiration from nostalgia-themed films such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie, where one of the sub-plot themes involves its lead character Tung (Ko Chen-Tung) recovering abandoned items and seeks to return them to their rightful owners. This is performed with the thought that they would be reminded of their past memories in elation.

Not to forget the art direction, optimistic lighting and pastel-like colour grading that also enhanced the film's novel-like aura void of worldly vibes that would have otherwise easily corrupted the film's realm in Nanyang Street. In addition to the pristinely clean and gorgeous imagery are fun-to-watch stop-motion animated scenes in the opening quarter of the film reel, which clearly segregates itself from being a serious film of contemporary realism.

But WOLF is beyond that as it gradually scribes in other characters with their respective stories and reasons of refuge in Nanyang Street. When viewed in depth, the film is about people's loss of loved ones and their issue of reconciliation with time and reality - moving on.

While most films can easily endeavour upon the conventional route of melodrama and cheesy rom-coms, Hou demonstrates his admirable signature style in WOLF and develops a world of his own to host his jovial characters. While Ko undeniably feels raw in performance (likely to be casted for his specific look and feel), his co-lead actress Jian Man-Shu steals the limelight with her eccentric demeanour and peculiar vision of the world. The casting of Taiwanese artiste Kuo Shu-yao helps to support the film's fantasy traits with her doll-like features and feisty (but pragmatic and materialistic) personality.

Hou does not exercise conventionalism and instead brings us a whimsical love tale focused on a thematic approach towards lost love and fond memories. The film may not bode well as a piece of narrative cinema but is indeed a pleasant showcase of art direction that should be commercially well received.
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31 Aug
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