Chi Yin's "In a Strange City" is the first disappointment in the Grande 4-Plex's outstanding International Showcase series. Relentlessly solemn and proceeding at a glacial pace, it aspires to comment on alienation and corruption in contemporary Taipei, topics that have been dealt with previously in Taiwanese films with considerably more style and energy. By default, the result is a tedious, trite soap opera.
Kuei-Mei Yang stars as a beautiful high school chemistry teacher caught up in an affair with a petulant businessman (Winston Chao) whose political ambitions bring increasing entanglements with the underworld. Meanwhile, Yang has her hands full at school trying to help a deeply troubled student (Rong-Gao Gu). Despite a busy schedule, Chao makes time to whisk Yang off to a foreign city--it looks to be in the Philippines--for passionate trysts on a quite frequent basis. Although the film has been handsomely produced it really has nothing to recommend it.
* Unrated. Times guidelines: The film contains considerable lovemaking.
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'In a Strange City'
Kuei-Mei Yang: Yu Jane
Winston Chao: Xiang Guo-Chien
Rong-Gao Gu: Dan-Tze
Angela Chang: Nan-Nan
A Filmopolis Pictures release of a Central Motion Picture production in association with Controller Productions. Director-editor Chi Yin. Producer Li-Kong Hsu. Executive producers Feng-Chyi Jiang, Hsiu-Ping Fu, Yi-Hsien Chien. Screenplay by Wen-Tsai Dai & Chi Yin. Cinematographer Suki Medencevic. Costumes Timmy Yeh. Music Paul McCarty. Art directors Hong Chang & Timmy Yeh. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes.
* Exclusively at the Grande 4-Plex for one week, 345 S. Figueroa St., (213) 617-0268.