Forever Love

(Taiwan, 2013)
North American Premiere
124 minutes, DCP, in Mandarin with English subtitles
Directed by: Aozaru Shiao, Kitamura Toyoharu
Starring: Lan Zheng-long, Amber An Xin Ya, Long Shao-hua, Wang Po-chieh

As light and frothy as a bottle of champagne, FOREVER LOVE is the hit Taiwanese comedy about Taiwan’s local film industry in the late 60’s when movies were cheap, stars were gods, and spies, giant monsters, and flying swordsmen crossed paths every day during lunch. Taiwan’s local Taiwanese (also called Hokkien) dialect film industry flourished from 1956 until 1973 when the government decreed that all movies should be made in Mandarin Chinese, wiping out the entire industry with one stroke of the pen. But FOREVER LOVE takes place in the late 60’s when the Hokkien stars were still shining bright and it’s a sweet and carefree Grease-esque tribute to a world that now only exists in memories.

In the present, 70-year old crotchety overachiever, Liu, falls off his mountain bike and winds up in the hospital. Stuck there, his wife at home suffering from Alzheimer’s and thinking it’s still 1969, he tells his granddaughter the story of how they met. Flashback to: Summer of ‘69. Liu is the Taiwanese film biz’s number one screenwriter, capable of cranking out seven scripts at a time. But he’s sick of writing the Spy No. 7 movies for egotistical superstar Wan Pao-lung (Edison Wang). His grumpy shell is cracked when he meets starstruck Mei-yuh (Amber An) trying to sneak backstage at a Spy No. 7 premiere. Falling head over heels in love, he casts her in the upcoming Spy No. 7 on Monster Island renaming it Spy No. 7 On the Moon For Love, and the film swings into romantic territory. Giddy, nostalgic, and full of historical recreations of fake 60’s films, animation, and black-and-white inserts, FOREVER LOVE is just the kind of swoony romance Hollywood doesn’t make anymore.

Slapstick, screwball, over-the-top and the kind of fun that leaves a big goofy grin on your face, FOREVER LOVE has a bittersweet bite, too. As ridiculous as the antics of the crews to keep their ramshackle movies from falling over and collapsing into a pile of cardboard sets, cheap costumes, and dimestore special effects, this is one of the only movies about Taiwan’s indigenous-language film industry. As goofy as it was, close to 1000 Taiwanese language movies were shot between 1959 and 1981, and only about 200 are preserved today. FOREVER LOVE reminds us of how much fun they were but also of how much we’ve lost when those 800 movies faded away forever.

Friday July 5, 4:45PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets

Monday July 8, 3:30PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets