First Love: the litter on the breeze (1997)
Block 2 Pictures | Amuse Group | Jet Tone
Cast: Eric Kot Man Fai, Takeshi Kaneshiro (Gum Sing Mo), Karen Mok, Lee Wei Wei,
Madame Nancy, Vincent Kok, Cheung Dik Lung, Vani Wong, Alan Wang, Maggie Leung
Cameo: Grasshopper (Edmond So, Calvin Choi, Remus Choi)
Music: Carl Wong Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle
Writer: Ocean Chan, Yeh Nian Chen (Yip Lim Sam)
Executive Producer: Chan Ye Cheng Producer: Wong Kar Wai, Yokichi Osato
Director: Eric Kot Man Fai
"Dating is like peeling an apple. After you finish, the apple will rot quickly."
Shot between 1996-1997, Eric Kot Man Fai's 'First Love: the litter on the breeze' is an art
film, a romance, a comedy and a documentary all at once. What it's not is a commercial
film. Viewers who don't favor it's meditative / haphazard style should stay away,
but for those who enjoy off-beat experimental works it might be their cup of tea.
Though Kot Man Fai's persona dominates, 'First Love' is particularly reminiscent of
Chungking Express and bears the visual stamp of Wong Kar Wai's cinematographer,
Christopher Doyle. As Kot explains, it was Wong Kar Wai himself who approached him to
collaborate together. Along with Wong Kar Wai alumni Karen Mok and Takeshi Kaneshiro,
Wong serves as co-producer while Eric acts, directs, narrates and sings the theme song.
The result of Kot's first full length film as director is sweet, sometimes annoying, and
The movie is comprised of 2 short films on the topic of "first loves". The opening tale
undergoes 4 rewrites before finally settling on the romance between a sleepwalking
bakery worker (Lee Wei Wei) and a "mentally handicapped" garbageman (Takeshi
Kaneshiro). The girl eventually becomes infatuated with videotaping her night time
excursions with her mini digital camcorder, always joined by her quirky garbageman friend.
Like WKW's work, the film labors over the most minute of ideas, with most characters
killing time like they're going to live for a thousand years. One sequence has Kaneshiro
literally examining the hairs on his toes. During it all, Kot frequently interrupts with his
comic narration, commenting on the production with sayings like, "This is my favorite
shot" or "Christopher Doyle is truly amazing!."
The second short stars Eric Kot as a married grocery owner who is visited by his former
fiancee (Karen Mok) 10 years after he left her at the altar. Day after day Mok turns up
in his shop, orders a bottle of Coke and downs it standing, pays and leaves. Kot is guilt
ridden over the abandonment, and the fact that he gave her wedding ring to his wife
(Nancy Lan Sai). Alluring as usual, Mok has an interesting though relatively untaxing role
as the jilted lover.
'First Love: the litter on the breeze' may be slow and abstract, but it still contains
some of the more showy aspects of HK comedies. Kot engages in his usual buffoonish
schtick as he narrates the first short, at one point wearing giant shades, an afro wig,
and a Volvo racing jersey. By the end of the film, Kot is actually moved to tears by the
experience. Whether this is genuine or a superb piece of acting is hard to tell.
Related viewing: Chungking Express (1994) Takeshi Kaneshiro, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung
Dragon Heat (2001) Eric Kot, Karen Mok, Ekin Cheng, Shu Qi, etc.
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