Eric Wolfram's Writing, Review of Dance of a Dream

Dance of a Dream

Directed by Andrew Lau

This film is a familiar waltz -- a young awkard person struggling to dance -- in this case a young woman. Clumsy, silly, pathetic, the audience develops pity for her hopeless dreams of dancing with -- you guessed it -- her mean, snobby, shallow, but otherwise likable, dance teacher. Dance of a Dream is wasted reexploring this theme. It is yet another look at this dancer's transition, the ugly duckling story, the realazation of a repressed dancing fantacy.

Indeed, done well, this story is universal and even has been known to cause unfortunate culture revolutions, like Saturday Night Feaver did for disco and Flashdance did for fashion. Of course, this dancer's story can be extremely funny, as in Strickly Ballroom. Even Dirty Dancing and Fame introduced us to grinding and leg warmers.

Poorly done, however, the story is really a drag. Especially when the story makes confusing variations and diversions from itself. As in Dance of a Dream, the relationships between everyone became too muddled, unclear and uninteresting -- it became hard to watch. And it doesn't help when the sub-titles disappeared too fast for anyone to read them either. This made the charactures even more unbelievable, uni-dementional and ill defined. Something like that.

To top it off, Dance of a Dream wasn't visually interesting either. To be fair, one scene stood out visually more than the others -- a colorful exterior shot of Hong Kong, which reappeared three times in the movie to became somewhat of an attempt at a visual motiff. However, this motiff was drapped on a movie so bland, that as a whole, it is hardly worth seeing at all.

Because of all that, and because the film didn't show me anything new or believable about that Hong Kong, I don't recommend rushing out to see it either.

Country: Hong Kong
Year: 2001
Run Time: 95 minutes
Cast: Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Sandra Ng, Edison Chen Koon-hei, Gordon Lam Ka-tung
Producer: Andrew Lau, Andy Lau
Editor: Pang Fat, Pang Ching-hay
Cinematographer: Andrew Lau, Ko Chiu-lam
Screenwriter: Felix Chong Man-keung

This Film Was Viewed at the 45th San Francisco International Film Festival

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