One Day (You yi tian) [2010] aka As I Walked Out One Evening • Taiwan

This is a strange one, in a good way, for the most part. It's a lovely and meditative story of blossoming and innocent young love that jumps back and forth in time and in and out of dreams. It gets a little weird, then a little confusing, and then almost shoots itself in the foot by hinting at some plot to get in the way of the story. I'm not sure that it happened but it seems to have, and it appears to relate to the melodramatic question a young woman asks her mother: "If you could go back to the past and meet dad again, would you still marry him ... but you know that he would have an accident later?"

Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh, looking a lot like Zhou Xun from certain angles, plays the young woman with the beautiful name, Singing. She works on a ferry that shuttles recruits between the port of Kaohsiung and the military base of Kinmen Island. One night during the trip all the lights go out on the ferry and Singing appears to be alone. Then an Indian man with an axe, screaming without subtitles, chases her. She's rescued by a young soldier and the loopy dream logic begins. The soldier tells her that they are not in the real world. A horse walks by. Singing's hair is shorter and she's in a study hall in Taipei sitting next to the soldier only now he's a student. They fall in love but keep waking up together, or falling asleep and dreaming together, on the ferry. The future, the past, what's a dream and what's reality blur to the point that it doesn't matter. Until that little plot point rears it's head. There's a little crying and some running, two things that suggest melodrama, but this is a mood piece much more than a drama. The dreamlike quality is emphasized by the fact that almost all the scenes take place on or near the water. The cinematography is often muted and the soundtrack mostly noodling piano.

I think it's a mistake to try and discover meaning in a film like this, as the director or as a viewer, even though it's filled with innumerable possible symbolisms. This is not a commercial love story. It's far too down tempo and poetic. But it is a love story and these kinds of films require a nice couple for us to love, and the two leads provide that here, with extra credit given to the ever watchable Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh in her film debut.

The beautiful theme song that plays as the end credits roll is sung by Tarcy Su, a singer and actress I just discovered in the remarkable film Blue Cha Cha.

Director: Chi-Jan Hou
Starring: Bryan Shu-Hao Chang, Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh, Gwen Yao



  1. I liked Taipei exchange better than this one. This film's message was just too obvious: it' s like they don't want the audience to think. The ending almost completely ruined the movie for me. And then there was this cheesy ending theme. I say not bad, but far from being a masterpiece (^^,)

  2. Hey! Don't be raining on my Tarcy Su love parade. I hardly ever watch credits or listen to theme songs but this one grabbed me immediately. I had no idea it was Tarcy Su until, at the very very end, her credit rolled by. At that moment everything in the universe became one.

    I have an uncanny ability to block out a film's message if I don't like it. And sometimes an uncanny ability to completely miss a film's message (but that's another story).

    I didn't see this film with a message. (You can decide which of my uncanny abilities was at work), unless it was "Love what you have today even if you know it's doomed." I viewed this film more as a mood piece propelled by dream logic, and wrote my review without mentioning David Lynch, thank you very much. And I did write that if the plot point, the message, gets the better of you then it might be a FAIL. I'm more interested in journeys than destinations.

    Taipei Exchanges, are you kidding me?

  3. Yeah Taipei exchange was more of a mood trip than a real story, and deserves credit for not trying to be more than it is. And I agree with your review, it's nothing new, it's not an important film, and you might even say that therefore it's not a good film, but it was sort of cute in a humble way, thanks to it's atmosphere

  4. Ow and I did like the films message, I just didn't like that is was so bluntly presented.

  5. Hmmm ... I never felt the atmosphere in Taipei Exchanges was real. I kept thinking about Laundry Detergent commercials from the 50s and the atmosphere they created. But I may have over-reacted due to my disappointment in Kwai Lunmei's participation.

  6. Kwai Lunmei really is a stunning beauty. Did you watch "The most distant course"?

  7. I have seen "Most Distant Course" and liked it a lot. I should post a quick blurb for that one. I'm trying to find her "The Passage".

    I don't think Kwai is old enough to be called a stunning beauty yet. She's good looking, kind of cool looking, and certainly attractive (in the real sense of the word). I just think she is a compelling young actress which is why it bothered me to see her such a fluff piece as "Taipei Exchanges". I liked the girl who played her sister in that film. She had a quirky, young, hot, and hip thing going on. I don't know what the appeal of Kwai's character was supposed to be.

  8. While watching this, I dared to represent the audience that "doesn't think", letting myself melting with the poetic stream of the movie. And I felt great!
    I wanted to rate it at Flixster, but they didn't update the, almost 5 stars from me.
    Thank you for this one! It really changes moods :)

  9. Great! I'm glad you watched this one. I think it has a wonderful soft appeal in its dreamy approach. I thought you would like it too. It's on Flixster under the original title.

  10. This was the first Chinese movie I saw and I really liked the fact that it was so slow. I wish here were more movies like that!

    1. There are a bunch of films like this one, though perhaps not enough. You might like a couple that are mentioned in this thread: "Blue Cha Cha" and "The Most Distant Course".