Calmi Couri Appassionati


"Nobody ever ends up with their true love."

- Junsei's friend

Calmi Couri Appassionati (2001)

AKA: Between Calm And Passion

Director: Isamu Nakae

Producer: Toru Ota

Cast: Yutaka Takenouchi, Kelly Chen, Michael Wong Man-Tak, Yusuke Santamaria, Kippei Shiina, Ryoko Shinohara

Running Time: 125 min.

Plot: Junsei Agata is studying to be a restoration expert who specializes in fine art, working on historical canvases in Florence, Italy. Through the years Junsei has been unable to forget Aoi, his true love, the one he had to separate from. He remembers a ten year old promise they made to meet at a cathedral in Florence on her 30th birthday...

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MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Love is a bitch. One day you're in love, the next day you're trying to figure out why the hell he or she left you, and vice versa. It's all the same song and dance...nothing lasts forever...for every love letter written, there's another one burned...if two become one, which is the one you'll become? I can get into the subject a lot more, but I have a review to write. I'm sure you didn't click on "Calmi Couri Appassionati" to hear about the ups and downs of love and all that other bullshit that comes with it, right?

Hong Kong mega-star, Kelly Chen, leant her body and talent to star in "Calmi Couri Appassionati", a Japanese production directed by Isamu Nakae. Also starring is one of Japan's most popular TV heart-throbs, Yutaka Takenouchi; and another Hong Kong star, Michael Wong Man-Tak, in a co-starring role. Is it me, or are these Japanese - Korean - Chinese crossovers becoming a popular fad? Cecilia Chueng in "Failan" (Korean), Toru Nakamura in "2009 Lost Memories" (Korean), Michelle Reis in "City of Lost Souls" (Japanese), Pauline Suen in "Ichi the Killer" (Japanese), Leon Lai in "Dream of a Warrior" (Korean)...just to name a few.

The plot revolves around Junsei (Yutaka Takenouchi) and Aoi (Kelly Chen). Junsei works as an art- restoration expert in Italy. One day, he finds out that a former love named Aoi works at a jewelry store not too far from his gallery. The excited Junsei immediately seeks her out and finds that Aoi has a new life, a new wealthy boyfriend (Michael Wong) and is "over" their past relationship. Junsei isn't too happy about this. A series of flashbacks hint that Junsei was the one who broke it off with Aoi. This only adds to the tension in Junsei's mind, which is filled with guilt, heartache and above all, regret.

There's a lot more to "Calmi Couri Appassionati" than what you've just read. The aspect of "promise" plays a major role in Junsei and Aoi's life, and it's value is deeply hidden and well-written into the plot; the promise coincides nicely with an important event that was witnessed during the couple's early stage of their relationship. Expect many more subplots and ironies that make the road to a happy ending long, winding and virtually impossible. But just remember, this is a movie - and foreign or not - the ending will either be sad, uplifting, or might just leave you hanging. As for me, I was quite pleased with the film's ending.

Visually, "Calmi Couri Appassionati" is nice to look at, thanks to Italy, where most of the film takes place in, and around. Most of the soundtrack features beautiful music by "Enya", an artist that also plays a minor note to the two main character's past. As far as the performances, they're simply superb. Even Michael Wong isn't as half as wooden as he usually is. It's also nice to see Kelly Chen speak multiple languages such as english - and her's is practically flawless.

All in all, I have to recommend "Calmi Couri Appassionati". It's nothing totally new when it comes to love stories, nor is it cutting edge as far as overall production. However, it'll definitely suck you in, and it's a nice way to spend a quiet a couple hours with your girl.