Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: A Taipei tattoo artist reconnects with her childhood love, now a webcam girl.
Alternate Titles: Ci qing
Year: 2007
Duration: 94 min
Language: Taiwan/Chinese
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Zero Chou
Writer: Singing Chen
Starring: Rainie Yang, Isabella Leong, Kris Shie, Shen Jian-Hung, Shih Yuen-Chieh

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Spider LiliesAlthough this effort from Taiwanese lesbian filmmaker Zero Chou won for Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, reactions of viewers seem to be quite mixed. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed by the distracting subplots and lack of chemistry between the actresses and annoyed by the main character.

The major screen time of the film is spent on the webcam life of Jade (Rainie Yang), who makes her living with an online peep show. Even offline, she perpetually acts like a cutesy little girl.

When Jade visits a tattoo parlor, she runs into Takeko (Isabella Leong), the woman whom Jade had a crush on as a nine year old girl. Takeko is a lesbian tattoo artist with major intimacy issues related to her past, her mentally challenged brother, and guilt over her first love.

Although Takeko is a very private, closed individual, somehow (inexplicably) Jade breaks through those barriers, and Takeko opens herself up to love again. Since there is nothing to explain why Takeko would be interested in this sexcam operator, perhaps she is just so terribly lonely that she lets it happen?

The plot hangs together with symbolism and associations involving spider lilies, tattoos and earthquakes. It does take some thinking power to understand everything that happens in flashback and how it all relates to the present, but it seems somehow too well planned to be compelling. (AB)