DIDI’S DREAMS (吃吃的愛) DEFY REAL LIFE

Article by Luis Vazquez

The things about dreams is that they can seem too real sometimes. That was quite the case in “Didi’s Dreams.” This is a Kevin Tsai 250 million dollar special of ambitious special effect marvels that tell the story of Shangguan Didi (Dee Hsu), an aspiring actress who lives in the shadow of her more famous sister Shangguan Lingling (Lin Chi-ling) but is determined to make it on her own merits due to a dispute after their mother dies. Xu Chunmei, also played by Hsu, is her dream created alter ego, who is an owner of a space station noodle shop whose heart is broken by an astronaut who steals her culinary secret.

This is how we are introduced to this Taiwanese-Chinese ninety-one minute package of outstanding comedy and deep dramatic drops. The elaborate set was totally believable and brought back memories of the James Bond film “Moonraker” with aspects of “The Fifth Element” thrown in. Didi is working the starving actors circuit but she is game and is supported emotionally by her boyfriend Kouzi (Jin Shijia), who works for a fast food joint on a motor scooter which he uses to take her on auditions.

She discovers from a routine examination that she has a brain tumor that will kill her within six months. Didi revs it up in the true spirit of Carpe diem taking any and all roles from a Zombie to a germ while Xu is in the regressive stage of sadness leading her to party trying to forget. Ironically, it’s one of these dead end gigs that finds its way online and suddenly Didi is an internet sensation.

This captures the attention of Lingling’s agent who picks Didi to join her sister in a top level film to ward off negative press from an affair she was photographed in. Didi sees this as the opportunity to show on the grand stage that she can hang with her rival sibling. The back story of their falling out is explained. It’s extremely tense between the two and the film, which takes place in the 15th century in the King’s palace with dialogue that reflects their actual story.

Didi faints from the stress of her declining health but not before performing the scene of her life. She dies and when we get to the end we find it was actually Xu’s dream and that it just happens to be a movie set. But Xu chases down the astronaut and he’s Kouzi. The late switch was a masterful close to an adventure ride that drew us into a family duel and tore at our heartstrings to finally confusing us with a classic bait and switch. This film was a pleasant surprise and though it did not do well in the box office here, it was popular in Taiwan though it fell well short of the budget provided. However this film will be a cult classic for sure and that’s not a bad way to be remembered.

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