Fantasy and reality come together in Starry Starry Night
Like a fairytale book came to life, Starry Starry Night (星空) is a rare Greater Chinese film that stars two young leads in a fantastical adventure that is nevertheless sensitive to human emotions. Directed by Lin Shu-yu (林書宇), based on the picture book of the same name, Starry Starry Night is a coproduction between Huayi Brothers and Atom Cinema.
“To Lin’s credit, the film is a seemingly effortless balance between the real and the imagined. Folded paper animals come to life, and a train flies into Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. With these fantastical visions and Jake Pollock’s exuberant cinematography, Lin adeptly takes audiences on an adventure of childhood innocence and imagination.”
“Xu Jiao (徐嬌) plays 13-year-old Mei, the only child in a family that is on the way toward disintegration as the parents grow increasingly apart from each other. Distressed at home and unable to connect with schoolmates, Mei finds comfort in her doting grandfather (Kenneth Tsang, 曾江), who carves her wooden animals that keep her company when she feels alone.
Jay (Eric Lin, 林暉閔), a transfer student, catches Mei’s attention with his quietness and artistic inclination. Friendship buds and then flourishes between the two lonely souls, but the newly found happiness comes to an abrupt halt when Mei’s grandfather passes away and her parents announce their divorce. Distraught, the two friends decide to run away from their troubles.
Lin is a versatile director, capable of both soberly observing hormone-raging teens in Winds of September and producing a tender portrait of female sensitivity that vividly captures the warmth and melancholy so tangibly evoked in Jimmy Liao’s illustrated world.
The adult cast members — including Guey Lun-mei (桂綸鎂), Rene Liu (劉若英) and Harlem Yu (庾澄慶) — give solid performances, but the film’s true stars are undoubtedly Xu, who made her first big-screen appearance in Stephen Chow’s (周星馳) 2008 CJ7 (長江七號), and Lin, a first-time actor with a natural talent. Together, the two make a convincing young couple having their first taste of love.”