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When a Wolf Falls In Love With a Sheep ("Nan Fang Xiao Yang Mu Chang")

Canadian Premiere
  • Taiwan
  • 2012
  • 85 mins
  • HD
  • Mandarin
  • English (subtitles)

“Beautifully crafted, touches both the funny bone and the heart, and pulls off that most difficult trick of all — turning the small things of life into engaging entertainment” – Derek Elley, FILM BUSINESS ASIA

Tung is shell-shocked by the recent, sudden departure of his girlfriend. He’s moved into a small room over a photocopy shop off Nanyang Street, Taipei’s best-known area for private tutoring schools, where the ex that haunts him might be found. No luck, but he does find a menial job at the copy shop downstairs. Among their clients is the school Sure Win, which counts the stubborn, somewhat dreamy teaching assistant Yang among its employees. Her habit of adding little sheep cartoons to the school’s exams is ignored by the students, but not by Tung. He’s intrigued by the doodles on the exam sheets he delivers, and on a whim draws a wolf on the master copy of one of them. Tung’s “enhanced” version of the exam accidentally makes it to the school, sparking enthusiasm from the students. Yang’s little sheep is now a hit, and she and Tung are now drifting closer and closer together…

Taiwan turned heads with the superior-grade romantic comedy YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE (Fantasia 2012), and WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP proves it was no fluke — they’ve really got a knack for ’em there. APPLE OF MY EYE star Ko Chen-Tung, who took home a Golden Horse award for Best New Actor, returns to the screen in Hou Chi-Jan’s quirky yet entirely convincing story of two incongruous personalities gravitating to each other soothe their wounded hearts. Not only are Ko and co-star Jian Shu-Man sympathetic and believable, the comedy is pitch-perfect in its gentle yet revealing tone. Hou is quite clearly in love with what one can do with cinema, adding zest to a solid story with inventive camera work, animation and an eye for detail. Moreover, he shows great affinity for the side streets and neighbourhoods of Taipei, and for the delightful characters there who provide a solid backdrop to the tale of Tung and Yang. Hou, by the way, directed TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES, the documentary on Taiwanese exploitation flicks of the ’70s that screened at Fantasia in 2007. Wolf or sheep, whichever you are, be sure to join the herd flocking to Fantasia for his latest gem!

— Rupert Bottenberg