A Flower in a Storm

While browsing through the film covers at my Chinatown video store, I came across this curiosity that I could not resist for reasons that now escape me. This is a Taiwanese weepy from 1983 that has Sibelle Hu and Sally Yeh in it just before both were to hit the big time in Hong Kong. Sally was to become a star the following year with Tsui Hark’s Shanghai Blues and Sibelle became a star in 1985 as the target of desire by the hapless crew in My Lucky Stars.
I have been told that initially Sibelle was groomed to replace Brigitte Lin as the queen of Taiwanese weepies, but this was my first opportunity to watch her strut her melodramatic stuff. From this film anyway, let us say that Sibelle was fortunate that the horny guys in My Lucky Stars came along! After having watched Brigitte in more weepies than should be legal, Sibelle clearly is not ready to replace Brigitte – as was no one else of course. At any rate, the Taiwanese weepie was a genre on its way out the door – as Hong Kong soon overwhelmed the Taiwanese film industry with its product.
This one follows the basic tenets of weepies – love in conflict with social mores resulting in seemingly hopeless complications that either lead to resolution or end in tragedy. With the parents both dead, Sibelle has had to assume the responsibility for bringing up her two younger siblings. She has saved up enough money to send her brother to the United States to earn his Phd., while she spoils Sally with everything Sally wants. How does she do this? The old fashioned way – by hooking of course! Sally meets Sibelle for dinner and whines that she is running out of money – Sibelle tells her to wait for thirty minutes and sure enough she is back with a fist full of money in no time after a quickie at the friendly neighborhood brothel.
Sibelle finds herself falling in love with a slightly dumpy noodle stall owner (Liang Hsao Shen) who doesn’t know what she does for a living (shades of Beyond Hypothermia!). Sally meanwhile has set her eye on the son of a wealthy businessman. Of course this all goes to hell when the noodle maker decides he has served enough noodles one evening and takes his savings for a night out with the boys. Who should walk into his rented room, but his “Goddess” Sibelle. Then at a “meet the in-laws” luncheon it turns out that Sibelle is already intimately familiar with the father of the boyfriend. Ah, fate can be a tricky son of a gun. All this plays out with the interest of someone telling you about the cold sore they had last week and in the background grinds the incessant elevator music of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

My rating for this film: 3.0