Korean title: Naengjeonggwa Yeonjeong Sai
Starring: Yutaka Takenouchi, Kelly Chen, Yusuke Santamaria
Director: Isamu Nakae
Studio: Marvel Entertainment (Korea)
Genre: Drama (Romance)
Important! Please read before you order!
>>>This DVD is encoded with Region
3. This DVD will NOT be viewable on DVD players made in
the U.S.A., European countries or Japan unless they are code-
(region-)free DVD players.
About This DVD
"Reisei to Jounetsu no Aida (Between Calmness and Passion)" was theatrically
released in November, 2001. Writers Kaori Eguni and Hitonari Tsuji each wrote a
novel based on the same story from two different viewpoints: that of a woman and
a man. Eguni write "Rosso" from a female viewpoint, and Tsuji wrote "Blu" from a
male viewpoint. The movies were based on these best-selling books each, and
follow the story of romantic entanglement set in Tokyo, Milan and Florence. Some
of the photography shot in these cities are breathtakingly beautiful. Unlike the
"Blu" DVD, this one is a single-DVD release with an bonus for initial press
Between Calm and
Passion: 2-Volume Set (Rosso + Blu))
Kelly Chen's Japanese Cinema debut is an incredibly well-produced romantic drama
that's glossier than anything she's done in Hong Kong. She and Yutaka Takenouchi
make an attractive pair, and the pathos is inherently compelling. However, the
film is so superficially beautiful that it borders on sterility.
Like frequent co-star Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kelly Chen has long been popular in
Japan. She has appeared in the Kyoko Fukada TV drama Don't be a Crybaby, and has
gained popularity thanks to numerous print ads as well as her obvious physical
charms. Now she co-stars with Japanese heartthrob Yutaka Takenouchi in Calmi
Cuori Appassionati, a romantic drama set in Japan and Italy.
Takenouchi is Akagi, a budding painter who restores old paintings for a
respected company in Florence, Italy. He has a circle of friends and a current
girlfriend, but his heart belongs to someone else: Aoi (Kelly Chen), who he
first met in 1991, though they broke it off midway through the nineties. Aoi now
works in Milan and has a rich Chinese boyfriend named Michael (Michael Wong).
She's claims she's happy now, but Michael isn't so sure.
One thing that's certain is that Akagi isn't happy; his job goes on the rocks
and he's still madly in love with Aoi. Through numerous flashbacks and some
voiceover, we learn how the doomed couple first met in college and how their
love deepened through passing years and personal difficulties. We also learn
about the forces that tore them apart, and also the serendipity that's brought
them in touch with each other again. What rings in Akagi's mind is a promise
they made one passionate night in 1991. They swore to meet again in Italy on
Aoi's thirtieth birthday. The question arises: will the promise be kept and
these two insanely attractive people find love?
Also, they have to find personal fulfillment and appropriate conclusions to
whatever side issues plague their lives. Akagi has issues with his former place
of employ, where he was framed for the destruction of a valuable painting. Aoi
must come to terms with her feelings towards Michael, and whether she actually
loves him or not.
These issues are meant to shed greater light onto the characters - to actually
make us care about them. However, just because something is supposed to be
touching doesn't mean it always is. Calmi Cuori Appassionati lacks - of all
things - passion. It's so precise and beautiful in its construction and
presentation that it comes across as a perfect flower vase - beautiful but
untouchable. Everything is presented in such a way to make us care, but just
because the filmmakers hit all the marks doesn't mean it's actually going to
work. If anything, the precision with which the film is told renders it
Still, the movie was a hit with people and it's understandable as to why. It's
hard to not feel for a film that tugs so relentlessly at the heartstrings. And
the actors are amazingly pretty. Yutaka Takenouchi and Kelly Chen are terrific
eye candy and both handle their roles well. Takenouchi gets the nod for acting
thanks to his rugged presence and convincing handle of the Italian language.
Chen is incredibly beautiful, but that works against her here. She's never been
one to display internal emotion. Instead, she comes across with an almost icy
exterior that, while fitting for the character, only adds to the film's
emotional distance. It'd be great if we could see into Aoi without a voiceover
or flashback to help us, but we never really get the chance.
Ultimately, it's the pull of fate that has the most effect on the lovers, but
the film never truly reaches a huge Officer and a Gentleman-style payoff. I
suppose that restraint is keeping with the "calm" indicated in the film's title.
The two lovers are always between surrendering to their feelings and trying to
be pragmatic, and that constant tug-of-war makes their love last for ten movie
years, two actual hours, and at least four protracted endings. In the end, I did
want them to get together, but mostly because that would mean the movie was
||DD 5.1 Surround, DD 2.0 Stereo
||Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
||English, Korean, Japanese
||125 / 20
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