WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP (Hou Chi-jan)
Hou’s charming and beautifully made second feature joins other recent films out of Taiwan that prove there’s still life yet in the romantic comedy genre. Set in Taipei’s cram-school district of Nanyang Street, we follow Tung (Kai Ko) and Yang (Chien Man-shu), two lovelorn souls pining for their lost loves, adrift and searching for a sense of purpose among the learning institutions promising bright, “Sure Win” futures.
Hou employs a virtual arsenal of visual tricks – stop-motion and hand-drawn animation, time-lapse, CGI – to wonderfully expressive effect. What at first threatens to be unbearably cute, cloying, and whimsical proves to be anything but, thanks to Hou’s confident mastery of tone. -- Christopher Bourne