Film review: Les Aventures d’ Anthony – young adult’s unrequited love
A whimsical portrayal of loneliness that’s beautifully shot, the film tells the story of a young Chinese man parted from his best friend and secret love, reunited but ultimately disappointed
Nothing hurts more than being friend-zoned. Or, at least, that’s the conclusion likely to be drawn by the young adults in this alternately heart-warming and disheartening tale about learning to let go. Directed by Janet Chun Siu-chun, better known as Chan Hing-ka’s co-director on such Hong Kong comedies as La lingerie and La Comédie Humaine, Les Aventures d’ Anthony is a beautifully shot, often sentimentally narrated story about a Dalian native’s rite of passage to adulthood across continents.
When Anthony (played by model Liu Chang) is set to pursue a business degree in Australia, he isn’t only saddened by the prospect of leaving behind his caring parents, but is also distraught at the thought of parting with his best friend and secret crush Ying (Bai Baihe), who’s heading to Japan to study sound design. Though he becomes good friends with his Melbourne housemates, meets a lovely new girl, Serena (Tina Tang Yixin), and even discovers a passion for cooking, Anthony never stops carrying a torch for Ying.
Much of the film is narrated on voiceover by the protagonist (as if he’s reading from a diary), who enjoys a fairy-tale introduction to adult life by changing his major to culinary arts and becoming incredibly good at it in a short time. As the story reunites him with Ying in Japan for its final act, however, the mood changes sharply to expose the cruelty of young love. Slight and unevenly paced, Les Aventures d’ Anthony’s whimsical portrayal of loneliness should still prove engaging enough for younger viewers.
Les Aventures d’ Anthony opens on January 28