You are the apple of my eye
Lust leads the way but love gets lost in “You Are the Apple of My Eye,” a bawdy, sentimental but still enjoyably Taiwanese coming-of-ager. Directed by prolific author Giddens, adapting his own autobiographical novel, this raunchy item is perfectly pitched at Chinese youth markets, especially with its catchy soundtrack (Sony Music’s Taiwan branch co-produced with local outfit Star Ritz). Biz has been boffo in Taiwan ($12.7 million) and Hong Kong ($1.4 million), and while the film’s depiction of Taiwanese patriotism and lewd humor may offend censors in various territories, a rich international ancillary career awaits.
With a popular blog and more than 50 novels to his credit, Taiwanese personality Giddens (real name Ko Ching-teng) is almost a presold commodity domestically, spelling widespread interest in this, his feature-film debut (he helmed one segment of the portmanteau film “L-O-V-E”). Told in flashback, the story opens with Giddens’ alter ego, Ching-teng (Ko Chen-tung), being told to hurry because there’s a bride waiting for him. With a bite of an apple and a devilish grin, Ching-teng snaps into a verbose voiceover that accompanies the pic throughout.
Flashing back to 1995, Ching-teng introduces his coterie of buddies from his South Taiwan high school, where sex, not study, is their chief preoccupation. Given that one character is named Boner (Yen Sheng-yu), and Ching-teng has a penchant for looking at Japanese porn and walking around the house naked, the film boasts a sexual frankness that could get it nicknamed “Taiwanese Pie.”
Caught participating in a masturbation contest at the back of a classroom, Ching-teng is relocated to a seat in front of Shen Chia-yi (Michelle Chen), the overachieving, puritanical coed he and all his friends are in love with. Dismayed by Ching-teng’s academic apathy, Chia-yi is nevertheless won over by his display of chivalry, which rescues her from punishment on one occasion.