Cloud of Romance
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When Qiong Yao (QY) finally decided to found her own Superstar Inc. to make her own movies, "Cloud of Romance" was the first one they produced out of their 13 QY adaptations, which IMHO was also the best one among all.
It is certainly one of my favorite TW 70s Romance movies, starring the three megastars, Brigitte Lin, Charlie Chin and Chin Han. I am thrilled just looking at the cast. This is the only romance movie that cast three stars out of the "Two Lins, Two Chins". (Although Charlie, and two Lins were all in "Off to Success", it was a military movie and all the stars had cameo appearances.) Both two Chins are likable in this movie, but I've always taken it as solely a Brigitte's movie. Watching Brigitte in this movie is just like watching Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday", her inborn charms, innocence, elegance, and her stunning beauty are irresistible. I can't imagine anyone else could play the leading role as the way Brigitte did. To me, if "Cloud of Romance" only belongs to one person, that's got to be Brigitte.
Everyone familiar with the Qiong Yao's novels should have known this famed story. Most Qiong Yao's novel-based movies have a happy ending, but "Cloud of Romance" is an exception. The love triangle between the three leads was never resolved in a happy way. The tragic ending is striking, but works fine for this particular story. To me, this movie was never a tear jerker, but rather thought-provoking.
Both Charlie Chin and Chin Han did a wonderful job for portraying of the two love rivals. This is the only movie that the two Chins ever made together. It would have been quite exciting to see two Chins in the same scene to have a conversation or even only a share of look, unfortunately it never happened. Charlie Chin and Chin Han never interacted in this movie.
Charlie Chin was the delightful dynamic proud Meng Qiao, occasionally silly but all in all likable. The love at the first sight between Brigitte and Charlie in the movie was quite joyful to watch and so faithful to the novel. After knowing that his lover married to another man without giving him any time to explain or make up, a deeply emotional injured Charlie was convincible. Watch out Charlie's intense look in the wood scene when he tried to get Brigitte back. If you have read the original novel by QY, you would find Charlie was everything that QY has written for Meng Qiao, especially that sharp, intense, and burning look in his eyes.
Chin Han played the decent well-behaved You-lan, whose gentleness and mildness were similar to his own in real life. If you are a Chin Han's fan, it would be a torment to see his genuine affection to Brigitte (ever since the childhood) that obviously he will never get returned even when he finally married her. Wan-lu (Brigitte) married to You-lan, but her heart still went to Meng Qiao. Chin Han handled the role well enough to earn the compassion of the audience. Though in the love triangle, all of the three suffered deeply and were innocent in their own way, You-lan was probably the most innocent and sympathetic one.
To face the two gorgeous Chins, who else but Brigitte Lin could play the heroine! Brigitte has such a power that she could just dominant the screen no matter who else is present, even the famous beauty Hu Yinmeng (who played the girlfriend of Wan-lu's brother's) or her two fabulous leading men. If you still don't understand why so many people fell under the spell of Brigitte's charms in her 70s romance movies, this movie will be a good start. Not only you can see a young vivid Brigitte with her natural pureness and stunning beauty, but also does it show many different sides of her images during 70s. From a naive energetic cheerful sometimes naughty girl to a melancholy tortured pitiful soul, Brigitte managed well for the heroine's transition through her love affair and the sudden discovery of her true identity. Torn by the man she truly loved but can't have and the man who deeply loved her and later she married to, Brigitte's Wan-lu was a miserable role that she was forced to face too much than she could handle.
Many years later, I still can't forget the beginning scene, in which a cheerful Brigitte was running and jumping under a tree and made the flowers (with a beautiful name "golden shower") dropping full of her hair. Look at that smile pictured with a slow motion, what a youth!
Reading the QY's novel "Cloud of Romance", you will easily find out that two Chins are just like the way QY wrote for the two leading characters in the book. It is no doubt that Charlie would be cast as Meng Qiao and Chin Han as You-Lan. Their differences were so well written by QY in her book even that was intended for the two fiction characters. Charlie is like that hot burning fire, while Chin Han is more like that peaceful lake of water.
While QY wrote many love stories, the real life story between Brigitte and two Chins is something more poignant and complex than any novels that QY has ever written. I don't want to commend too much on stars' personal lives. However, if you know the tangled relationship among Brigitte and two Chins off screen, you would find this movie is more than just a movie. I guess that is also one of the reasons that makes it a classic.
Brigitte broken up her four-year-engagement to Charlie for Chin Han, but her about 20 year love marathon with Chin Han didn't work out either. The reason for their break up is still a mystery. She finally got married at age 40 to a plain-looking rich businessman.
Being a fan for all of these three actors, I can only wish them great happiness in their lives.
In case you don't know this famous QY's story, here is a short synopsis.
Wan-lu is a vivacious and carefree girl, who always considers herself as "a piece of cloud" (the original Chinese title literally means "I am a piece of cloud"). One day she meets Meng Qiao by accidentally kicking a ball on his head. The two falls in love soon. In Wan-lu's life, there is also You-lan, who is her childhood friend and has long been in love with her. However, Wan-lu always takes You-lan as her brother. Wan-lu is disapproved by Meng Qiao's widowed mother. Meantime she gets the shocking news that she is not the real daughter of her professor father and her real mother is a night-club-dancer (considered as low class). The truth breaks her self-confidence and she is rejected by Meng's mother once again. Wan-lu quickly decides to marry You-lan on rebound, which is a big mistake since the marriage is not based on love. Wan-lu tries to be a good wife to You-lan and nearly succeeds until Meng Qiao re-appears in her life. Meng Qiao tries to win Wan-lu back and the two have a great struggle on love-moral issue. Wan-lu finally decides to leave You-lan for Meng Qiao and You-lan gets an accident and dies. Wan-lu gets mentally disordered upon You-lan's death and can't say anything except "I am a piece of cloud." In the end, Meng Qiao comes to the hospital to take care of Wan-lu for the rest of her life.
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Novel: Qiong Yao
Director: Chen Honglie
Starring: Brigitte Lin, Charlie Chin, Chin Han
Singer: Feng Feifei