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New Film Offers Romance-starved Respite for Single’s Day

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November 11 marks Singles' Day in China, a day so named because the date consists four consecutive number ones. For many singles, it's a chance to celebrate the fact they are foot-loose by enjoying the company of their friends who also lack significant others.But this year Singles' Day is poised to be hijacked again by a flood of newly released romantic films that rub salt into the wounds of singles nationwide by reminding them how lonely they are.

One of the most anticipated films is Hong Kong comedy-romance Natural Born Lovers. Directed by Patrick Kong, the film explores how love can lead partners to become obsessive and crazy as it blossoms.

Tai Lam (Julian Cheung) is a popular pastry chef who falls head-over-heels for nurse Meibo (Annie Liu). The young couple's romance sours when Meibo reveals herself to be a suspicious girlfriend, whose actions escalate into violence.

Meibo monitors Tai Lam around the clock and even hacks into his computer, cellphone and social networking accounts.Eager to get rid of his crazed lover, Tai Lam begins a probe of his own to explore Meibo's past and learn the root of her stalker-like behavior.While many singles watching this movie will rejoice in the fact they don't have a nutty, possessive partner, the film overall relies on clichés.

The charm of heartthrob Cheung and onscreen antics of Liu aren't enough to redeem Kong's quirky love story.Many Chinese directors of romance films are hung up on the often complicated love between men and women, and Happiness Me Too ensures mainland director Zhang Quanxin is no exception.Starring Joe Chen and Shao Bing in the lead roles, the film explores the innocence of love and pain of betrayal.

Regarded as China's cinematic answer to Sex and the City, the film fails to do justice to the complex relationships among its 10 characters from different careers and generations in 100 minutes - something the American TV series had the luxury of 94 episodes over six seasons to do.The film also attempts to follow the lead of China Central Television earlier this year, which ran a program featuring interviews of random people across the country to ask them what "happiness" means, by offering its own definition for audiences of the word.

Whoever, by Hong Kong director Sen Dao, centers on the chaotic relationships among three men and five women. Starring Jaycee Chan, South Korean actress Jang Nara and Singaporean actress Fann Wong, the film's multiple plot structure is naturally rife with betrayal.All three films will be released November 9, two days ahead of Singles' Day.

However, it's unlikely they will come close to matching the success of last year's Singles' Day box office hit by director Teng Huatao, Love Is Not Blind, which raked in 350 million yuan ($56 million).The success of Love Is Not Blind can be attributed to more than just the fact that the date of last year's Singles' Day - 11-11-11 - was particularly auspicious.

Recommended cinema:

Capital Times Cinema

Address: B1, Capital Times Square, Xidan, No.88, West Changan Street.

Tel: 86-10-83913643.

Website: www.shoudushidai.com/

Business hours: 8:30am-11:30pm.

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