From the New York Asian Film Festival: Our Review of ‘Love in The Buff’

Posted in Movies, NYAFF 2016 by - July 06, 2016
From the New York Asian Film Festival: Our Review of ‘Love in The Buff’

Pang Ho-cheung’s 2012 film Love in the Buff, a sequel to Love in a Puff, is unconventional for a romantic comedy, a genre where audiences demand convention. This is slightly frustrating, but Pang’s choice in doing that is understandable. We’re not meeting our couple as they meet for the first time. Cosmetics saleslady Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and ad-man Jimmy (Shawn Yue) have been living together in Hong Kong for a year by the time the film begins and Cherie’s starting to be outright bored and tired of him. Such a premise doesn’t necessarily go well with the orchestra that we expect from romantic comedies but Pang and the cast will give us a violin or two.

An urban gray and brown dominates the film and this aesthetic even permeates through its occasional flashbacks. Jimmy returns to these moments even after both he and Cherie enter new relationships, which might have prompted them to cheat on their new partners (Yang Mi and Xu Zheng) with each other. The flashbacks reflect something Cherie comments on, that their complicated relationship and become frustratingly cyclical. I’m one of those people who doesn’t care about watching sequels before watching their previous installments, so I didn’t share the frustration. It’s a relief that it’s decent enough of a story so it doesn’t feel rehashed.

Things do get sunnier when they separately move to Beijing for promotions. Cherie, in a “we’re over but I still care for you” phone call, warns him about how dry the capital city is, but instead what we got to see as viewers is something more colourful than the city they left. It’s a city to fall in love in, even if we as viewers can’t get that full experience.

Love in the Buff has already screened as a part of NYAFF

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.