Cape No. 7 (海角七號) directed by Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) was officially released in Taiwan today. It earlier screened at the Taipei Film Festival where it won the Grand Prize and Audience Award.
The film is set in the southern Taiwanese seaside town of Hengchun (恆春). The film begins by introducing an interesting cast of characters. The most notable is the old mailman, Maobei, who deservedly gets a significant part. Most of the dialogue is in Hoklo Taiwanese which adds to the down to earth flavour of the film. （It is subtitled in both Chinese and English). Some might see the collection of characters and their antics as lacking sophistication, but they capture small town life quite well.
The story evolves around the town forming a local support band for Japanese star Kousuke Atari who is going to play a concert on the beach. A-ga has returned to his home town after failing to make it as a musician in Taipei and continues to act as a rebellious rock star. His step-father is the unofficial town mayor and recruits him to lead the band along with a varied collection of local characters. Tomoko is a Japanese model stuck in the small town and charged with organising the concert.
The tension between A-ga and Tomoko simmers as they struggle to organise the band. As a back story there is a sixty year old box of undelivered love letters from a Japanese man to his Taiwanese lover. The depth of emotion in the love letters is not captured with anywhere near the same intensity as the unlikely romance that develops between Tomoko and A-ga.
The film has some entertaining and funny moments, but it fails to maintain a consistent quality throughout.