Love Under a Rosy Sky

Review by YTSL

In some of her old Taiwanese films (e.g., "Run Lover Run" and "Morning Fog"), Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia exhibits that quality which makes one understand what Tsui Hark meant when he said of her that:  "She has a very carefree, masculine spirit like a boy, but she's a girl" (In the Stanley Kwan-directed "Yang +/- Yin:  Gender in Chinese Cinema" documentary that's part of the British Film Institute's 1995 commemoration of one hundred years of movie-making).  That is far from the case though in this highly melodramatic weepie that dates from 1979.  Indeed, when watching that which initially had the then twenty-five year old in the role of a high school student, this (re)viewer found herself almost doubting that its beautiful but frail appearing female lead was/is the same actress that many (non-Asian) Hong Kong movie fans look upon as the archetypal cross-dressing woman warrior!

In LOVE UNDER THE ROSY SKY, Brigitte Lin's character -- who goes by the name of Yin Tsai Chin -- is a gentle and sweet young thing who has loved the artistic and sensitive soul played for the bulk of the film by Chin Han since she was six years of age, and who wants nothing much more than for them to have happy times inside and outside of their "love nest".  However, several obstacles and people lie in the way.  Among the more notable are:  Tsai Chin's rough father (who is not adverse to beating her when she disobeys his order to not see her beloved Chiao Shu Pei); his ogre of a first wife (Tsai Chin's mother is the put upon "second wife"); Brigitte's character's trouble-making step-brother; the lawyer our seemingly luckless heroine is made to be a "concubine" of in return for his services to her father; and Shu Pei's honorable single parent.
The scraps and troubles Tsai Chin and Shu Pei get into while they are still at school -- and living in a part of the country where they can conveniently meet and spend time together by the sea -- are nothing compared to what happens after they move away:  She rather mysteriously, abruptly and at first to parts unknown; he to attend university in Taipei.  Before too long in the film (but actually some years later in the story), their paths do cross once more.
At first, all is well, and LOVE UNDER A ROSY SKY's viewers are treated to the immensely pleasurable sight of a radiantly smiling Brigitte (and a Chin Han who looks glad to be with the woman about whom someone opined that:  "You gave drops of joy to all near you").  Too soon though, money and other matters shatter the couple's contentment and joy at being in each other's devoted company.  Further, the bullying step-brother re-enters the darkened picture which already threatens to be too crowded; what with its coming to include such as a female college-mate of Shu Pei and a male colleague at the restaurant where Tsai Chin gets a job playing the electric organ and singing during the evenings...
In recalling and writing all this, there is a part of me that can't quite believe how much I got suck(er)ed into caring about the trials, tribulations and fates of the pretty pathetic main character(s) of this eventful movie (For the record:  LOVE UNDER THE ROSY SKY's female protagonist bursts into tears about seven times, is beaten by men three times and faints twice in about 100 minutes of film).  Chalk this down to the undeniably strong effect and impact that Brigitte Lin has on my emotional state as well as this being one of the better paced, etc. of her c. 1970s works that this Brigittephile has viewed thus far.  Still, I do realize that there are people who may not be as enamored or tolerant of viewing that whose makers seemed to have really strived to put one through the emotional wringer.  As such, perhaps the key criteria that needs to be examined before checking out this offering is:  How much are you willing to put up with to behold the wondrous sight of the then young and truly heartbreakingly adorable Brigitte Lin?!

My rating for this film:  5.5 (but minus 2 points if you're not a Brigitte fanatic who would willingly watch her water the lawn for 2 hours...)