Reel Asian 2017: Our Review of ‘In Your Dreams’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Reel Asian 2017 by - November 15, 2017
Reel Asian 2017: Our Review of ‘In Your Dreams’

As I’m writing this piece, the 2017 Reel Asian International Film Festival has started. And it’s screening the Hong Kong relationship drama In Your Dreams. The fest’s centerpiece film stars Carina Lau as Mrs. Yip, an unhappy substitute teacher. Relationship – that’s a word. It reminds me of when Nancy Grace chides one of her guests for using it. Because he was describing what’s occurring between a teacher and her student.

Grace doesn’t like the word because it implies that both parties are on equal footing in this said relationship. I suppose someone can argue that both Mrs. Yip and the student in question, Cheung Chi Hang (Ng Shi Hin) are on equal footing. If anything, he’s the one pursuing her and dumping his mommy issues on her. She plays along, trying not to cross any boundaries. This is writer Tam Wai-Ching’s first time directing and he tries to add complexity to the situation.

The film makes me wonder why Lau decided to produce the film. It’s a complicate role for her to play, I’ll give her that. Mrs. Yip is a woman dealing with terrible males – one is chasing her like a dog. Another, her husband (Tse Kwan-Ho), is cheating on her with a dance instructor (Jennifer Yu). There’s a scene where Mrs. Yip follows the dance instructor around, showing how this is one of her irrational decisions.

It’s a small film for both Lau and Tam who are action film veterans. And there’s even moments of perverse beauty in it. Tam shoots the film as if in a jade hall of mirrors, like a Hitchcock film where nobody dies. We also see Mrs. Yip’s clean surroundings, as if waiting for disruption. But we still see her through Cheung’s entitled eyes, making the film’s hot for teacher fantasy a little distasteful.


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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.