A Film From Afar: You Are the Apple of My Eye
There are only constant three things in life that have the ability to never get old, and cause everyone to gush indescribable joy: baseball, foreign cinema, and anything inside the genus of comic books/graphic novels/manga. Here, we'll help you reach nirvana by giving you a nudge in the right direction.
Me? I'm a total sucker for anything labeled "coming-of-age". Maybe it's a character flaw. Maybe it's something with my genetic coding. Maybe it's nothing at all. But yeah, you give me some sort of book, film, manga, whatever, dealing with a youth's journey into early adulthood, it'll be very interesting material to me, which is why I had no trouble delving into Taiwanese director Giddens Ko's You Are the Apple of My Eye.
The film is based off of Ko's semi-autobiographical novel titled The Girl We Chased Together in Those Years (which sadly for us non-Taiwanese folk has not been translated into English as far as I can tell). However, one has to admit, if you can create an entertaining film off of a novel sort of based on your own life, you must have had a very fascinating life. Congratulations! So yes, Ko was not only the movie's director, but he also penned the source material as well. The story tells the tale of high school student Ko Ching-teng, who is a bit of a truant at his school. After one too many incidents, the principal punishes him by placing his seat by the top student in his grade, class genius as well as class heartthrob Shen Chia-yi, so she can keep a stern watch on him. Though their relationship with one another is contentious at first, they in time become friends, and soon after fall for one another. However, as with any good coming of age tale, the circumstances surrounding everyday life and growing up get in the twosome's way, and they have to decide whether they'll trek life's path together, or apart.
The film was a huge deal overseas. In its first weekend, it grossed 20 million New Taiwanese dollars. When all was said and done, it brought in a whopping 420 million New Taiwanese dollars. It also cleaned up well at the box office in both China and Singapore. Additionally, You Are the Apple of My Eye got a lot of award recognition in Asia. In particular, it won the inaugural award for Best Film of Taiwan and China at Hong Kong's version of the Oscars, known as the Hong Kong Film Awards, at the ceremony's 31st edition in 2011. The film boasts strong acting from its leads, and touching moments that should move you and take you back in time to when you felt that "coming of age" groove. I personally enjoyed Ko's work here a lot. His latest project was released in 2014, titled Cafe. Waiting. Love. Ko both wrote and produced that film. It's another romantic comedy, also with a bit of an emphasis on coming of age. Make a point to check it out when it's released on DVD here in the States.