Review:《女朋友。男朋友》(Nyeobungu. Nambungu/GF*BF) and Q&A

6 thoughts on “Review:《女朋友。男朋友》(Nyeobungu. Nambungu/GF*BF) and Q&A”

  1. I thought you might give this a negative review after your analysis of the characters but now I see that it’s part of the film’s allure – it portrays the messy ground between shadows and personas in life.

    The screenshots do capture the beauty of the film:

    The atmosphere of rebellion in the initial stretch and the thrills, trials and tribulations of growing up are also wonderfully conveyed, through narrative as well as soundscore and cinematography. The photography is stylish, colours are bright and intense, shots often striking (enhanced further of course by the photogenic looks of the main actors)

    Sounds sort of like Norwegian Wood. I love the first image you use.

    Great review! If I see it available in the UK or screened somewhere, I will go and see it.

    1. Ha ha ha, are you saying “great review” because I was complaining about no one commenting despite me staying up till 4 in the morning to finish it?

      I don’t think everything works in this film, but there are parts in it that elevate it from the bland mass of films out there and make it worth watching. I also find it quite interesting that Taiwanese cinema seems to spawn a lot of these high school set coming-of-age stories (Winds of September, You’re the Apple of My Eye are two other recent ones, not sure if Honey Pupu also falls in to this category?).

      The cinematographer is the same one as for Starry Starry Night (which is visually gorgeous, indeed, almost too stylish) – don’t think you have seen that one though, no?

      I always try to use an eye-catching and somehow aesthetic first image, but not the ‘standard’ one (i.e. some films seem to have one shot that everyone uses, whether in reviews, cinema listings, etc.).

      1. I wrote great review because I think it is well-written and conveys your thoughts really well 🙂 I’m persuaded to give this a shot. I don’t really dig high school coming of age tales but you made this one sound interesting because of the conflicting characterisation and the gorgeous visuals.

        I have not seen Starry Starry Night. I’m aware of and have watched films from the Taiwanese directors Tsai Ming-Liang, Edward Yang (once upon a time, back when I was in high school, the BBC or Channel 4 screened Yi Yi and I have it on VHS) and Hou Hsiao-Hsien but my knowledge doesn’t go past those three so it has been interesting getting a look at a newer generation. Just looked up the price of Yi Yi on DVD… Ouch. Expensive.

      2. High school set coming-of-age stories tend to be one of my favourites, in film, TV dramas AND mangas. If they are well down only, of course.

        I’m not too well-versed in Taiwanese cinema myself and have watched a random mix of things. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Eat Drink Man Woman. Starry Starry Night . Kora. (I guess Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi don’t count.)

        Yi Yi is still on my list. Not a great DVD price, but not absolutely unaffordable if one really really wants to see it.

  2. Actually Yang does not abandon Taiwanese history completely in the third part. I think there’s one more important detail that you did not notice in the film: the companion in the protest movement with whom Aaron has an affair with later becomes his wife. Her family later turns out to be not just rich but politically prominent. Her father, and indeed Aaron’s father-in-law, is the Premier of the Executive Yuan in this film. Aaron becomes the spokesperson of Executive Yuan and speaks against student protest (shown on the TV news at the karaoke scene). This is actually an echo to Taiwanese politics after 2000… I remember that I read an interview in which the direct says that Aaron is designed to reflect democracy in Taiwan (or something like this). Perhaps that’s an extra food for thought for you 🙂

    1. I realised that it’s Aaron’s companion from the protest movement that becomes his wife & that her father had some political/social standing, but didn’t know that some of that reflected more current day politics in Taiwan (as I said, my knowledge of Taiwanese history is appalling :-O ). That’s certainly interesting so thanks for pointing that out! Sadly, that is probably going to get lost to most non-Taiwanese viewers more so than the earlier historical references (which can be looked up in Wikipedia/elsewhere more easily).

      Aaron as reflecting democracy, hmmm. I’m going to have to ponder that one, I’m not sure that’s all that appealing given the cheating and somewhat rather self-centred (never really seeming to consider what others feel) nature of his character. But maybe that is what Taiwanese democracy is like, still working to become something better hopefully….

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