Dodo is born disabled. She can’t walk well, and always stays home reading fairy tales. Her favorite is The Little Mermaid. She often wonders whether she has to exchange her voice for a pair of walking feet if a prince really appears in her life. After having a surgery, Dodo has a long sleep&md...(Read more)
Dodo is born disabled. She can’t walk well, and always stays home reading fairy tales. Her favorite is The Little Mermaid. She often wonders whether she has to exchange her voice for a pair of walking feet if a prince really appears in her life. After having a surgery, Dodo has a long sleep—much like the Sleeping Beauty in the fairy tale of the same title—and after waking up, she finds that she can suddenly walk again. From then on, Dodo indulges in wearing and collecting high heels. One day, she meets Smiley Dentist, and they fall in love. After 30 dates, they get married and “live happily-ever-after”—except that Smiley is troubled by Dodo’s shoe fetish. In order to comfort Smiley, Dodo promises that she will never walk into a shoe store again. However, one day, drawn by a pair of red shoes displayed in a shop window, Dodo absent-mindedly falls into a manhole and can never walk again. Dodo shuts herself in at home and falls in silence until one day, when a little match girl knocks the door….
Lee Yun-Chen’s previous short film, The Magical Washing Machine (2004), has foreshadowed the style of this film. Its topic is taken from everyday life, and is treated lightly. The film is shot in a bright and brisk tone, with colorful and cozy cinematography. Its atmosphere is akin to fairy tales and fantasies, and it highlights a teenage girl as protagonist. All the above features are refreshing in the Taiwan cinema scene. Unlike contemporary feminists (such as Angela Carter) who revise or rewrite fairy tales radically to deconstruct patriarchal ideologies hidden in fairy tales, Lee Yun-Chen reinterprets fairy tales and transforms them into stories about contemporary women. She questions the “happy ending” of fairy tales in her film. The film also highlights gender inequality in the workplace. Dodo’s “shoe fetish” (the central plot of this film) comes from The Little Mermaid, which tells a story about how a woman exchanges her voice for the capacity to automatously pursue her love. More importantly, it is also a story about how a woman sacrifices herself for a heartless man.
In this film, the traditional moral values in The Little Mermaid seem to be turned into debates about contemporary gender issues: Is the woman’s shoe fetish a sign of alienation and self-objectification? Or is it a practice of self-empowerment—and the demonstration of the female subject’s agency? Lee Yun-Chen concludes this film with ambiguity. On the one hand, it espouses the reassuring conservative ideology of “cherishing what one already has”; while, on the other hand, the ending of the film implicitly draws a sharp contrast between the subaltern match girl (and her bare feet) and the upper-class Dodo (and her shoe collections).
This film is one selection of the project “Focus First Cuts,” launched by Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau. This project sponsors young directors in Asia, aiming at reviving Asian cinema. Thus, with an eye to Asian markets, local color is watered down and realism gives way to transnational genres such as ghost film, fantasy, Wuxia (chivalric knight), and fairytale-like romance of this film.
|DVD source：||R.O.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Taiwan Academies, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. please contact Embassies, Representative Offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.|
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese|
|Actors：||Vivian HSU, Duncan CHOW, TANG Na|
|Music：||Danny LIANG Chen-Chun|
2005 Golden Horse Awards, Best Art Direction Award