When A Wolf Falls in Love With A Sheep 南方小羊牧場(Taiwan, 2012)
New York Premiere
85 minutes, DCP, in Mandarin with English subtitles
Directed by: Hou Chi-jan
Starring: Kai Ko, Chien Man-shu, Tsai Chen-nan, Kuo Shu-yau, Nikki Hsieh
Director Hou Chi-jan in attendance.
Not long ago, Tung woke up with a yellow post-it note stuck to his forehead. It told him his girlfriend had dumped him and gone to cram school. Not willing to take it lying down, he headed down to Nanyang Street – the most famous (and infamous) high-pressure cram school district in Taipei. There, he takes a job at the local copy shop printing exams for the cram schools, hoping to one day run into his lost love. That’s when Tung notices something strange doodled on the exams from the nearby Bisheng school – a cartoon sheep, all alone on the plains of blank white paper surrounding her, looking for a fellow grazing animal. The sheep and its funny little messages intrigue Tung, and on an impulse he decides to draw something back, like a message in a bottle. This is how a wolf fell in love with a sheep.
Hear us now and know it to be true: WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP is the sleeper hit of NYAFF 2013. It’s got the classic romcom lure of Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner and the fizzly, delirious lifeforce of the new Taiwanese pop cinema. Starring the dreamy Kai Ko from last year’s hit You Are the Apple of My Eye and directed with electric madness by Hou Chi-jan (Taiwan Black Movies), it’s a stop-motion animated magic show and a militantly adorable tale of dizzy, daffy pen pal love.
As wolf and sheep circle each other across the pages of copied exams, Tung befriends shy cram school staffer Yang, a cute, lovelorn sleepwalker who’s counting down to 100 to face her destiny. Together they bounce around on a series of romantic adventures – like the riddle of the lost pager from 1999 flashing love “forever and ever” in numeric code, the hidden identity of the Golden Fried Rice Ninja, and the ghost stories of the abandoned lockers of forgotten love. This is a film for the senses that we cannot recommend to you enough. It’s a luminous fable for the amateur cartoonist or community organizer in all of us, because when you’re all alone in the pasture, sometimes it takes a city to help you find the perfect mate right under your nose. Please, wait until after the credits, and remember to cherish your food and make a love confession when necessary.