The Taiwanese romantic comedy THE PERSONALS follows the often hilarious, sometimes sad meetings that a pretty young woman has with the men who respond to the ad that she placed in the personals section of the newspaper. Du Jiazhen (Rene Liu), the woman, is a young eye doctor on a mission to find a husband. After spontaneously putting an ad in the paper, she begins to meet with interested men regularly, and what began as an impromptu action quickly changes into an obsession. Returning day after day to the same teahouse, she is a quiet, thoughtful observer, letting the men tell all before her. These interactions are broken up by Du's nightly calls to the answering machine of her ex-lover, during which she communicates her complex feelings and doubts. She continues to meet man after man until finally, a shocking discovery changes everything.
Director Chen Kuo-fu, a noted film critic in Taiwan, adds intelligence and depth to a story that could have been shallow and conventional. Creating a lush sense of setting and mood, he manages to give a voice to an entire culture through the emotional journey of one woman. It is Rene Liu's remarkably layered performance as the quietly tortured yet simultaneously strong protagonist that resonates long after the film is over.
Chen Kuo-fu - Director, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Kuo-fu Chen - Director, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Chen Kuofu - Director, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Shih-chieh Chen - screenwriter, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Rene Liu - star, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Wu Bai - star, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Chin Shih-Chieh - star, THE PERSONALS
Bao-ming Gu - star, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Chao-jung Chen - star, THE PERSONALS (2000)
Theatrical release: January 5, 2001 (LA/NY). The director, Chen Kuo-fu, is a renowned film critic in Taiwan. Rene Liu received the "Best Actress" Award and Kuo-fo Chen received the "Best Screenplay" Award at the 1999 Asia-Pacific Film Festival. THE PERSONALS is based on a book by Chen Yu-hui. Most of the male characters in the film are played by non-professional actors. Director Kuo-fu, who is single, was inspired to make this movie after wondering about marriage for so long. Kuo-fu asked Rene Liu to keep a character journal throughout the film's shooting. THE PERSONALS was showcased in the non-competitive section (Un Certain Regard) of the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
"...Finds humor in the emotional drift and romantic dislocation of urban life....Ms. Liu is an actress of extraordinary subtlety....Mr. Chen's [film is a] relaxed alternation of pathos and satire..." - 01/12/2001 New York Times, p.E12
"...A skilled compilation of moments....[The film] resembles a short-film collection, celebrating the endless varieties of human behavior and complexity..." - 03/01/2001 Box Office, p.66
"...Unpredictable and remarkably accomplished....One of the liveliest and most accessible films yet from Taiwan..." - 04/13/2001 Los Angeles Times, p.6