Spider Lilies (刺青) is a Taiwanese movie starring Rainie Yang (楊丞琳) and Isabella Leong (梁洛施). Yang plays the character of Xiao Lu (小綠), a webcam girl who decides on getting a tattoo (the name of the movie in Chinese means tattoo). She then meets tattooist Takeko (Isabella Leong). The main plot of the movie centres around the relationship between the two women.
I think the key theme of the movie is how events of the past can weigh heavily in the present and prevent people from being what they truly want to be. Both characters suffered losses as a result of the 921 earthquake and these continue to haunt them in the present. Xiao Lu seeks to connect with Takeko in order to return to a happy moment in the past. Her role as a webcam girl means that she is frustrated by her isolation and lack of relationships in the real world.
Isabella Leong as Takeko (photo from spiderlilies-movie.com)
Takeko has tried to suppress those memories and still lives with a great burden. She has to care for her brother, A-qing (阿青), who suffers from dissociative disorder (解離症). She feels responsible for him after losing her father in the 921 earthquake.
Two of the other main male characters in the movie are both interesting and complex. There is A-dong (阿東), the epitome of taike (台客), who hangs around the tattoo parlor. And Da Yu (大宇), a young police man with a stutter who watches Xiao Lu via the webcam. They seem like an adjunct to the film when they could have played a greater role in it.
The movie is well shot and edited and the stars give good performances in a touching drama. According to today's Taipei Times the movie had the fifth highest box office takings in Taipei last weekend. This is quite good considering it was showing at only a limited number of cinemas. It is a pity that it wasn't given more promotion and a wider release, because with two big stars it has what it takes to be a success.
Please note: The version I saw had no subtitles in either English or Chinese. A small part of the film was in Japanese and this had Chinese subtitles.