Multi-award winning lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山) makes his directorial debut with Rhythm of the Rain, a film that explores the depths of youth, love, dreams and friendship. Now not only can fans enjoy reading and listening to his lyrics, but also appreciate his visual work.

Fang is more than often associated with long-time music partner and international Mandopop superstar, Jay Chou (周杰伦), as his lyrics contribute to the majority of the songs on the singer’s albums. When Jay’s fame grew and dominated the Mandopop scene, Fang’s popularity followed suit in the spotlight and became influential in establishing the star’s signature musical element.

Holding true to his nature of a lyricist, Fang incorporated 7 original songs written just for the film.

The film stars Alan Kuo (柯有倫), son of the late Taiwanese actor and stuntman Blackie Kuo, (柯受良) and Shi Xiao Long (释小龙) the kungfu star famous for his role in Shaolin action/comedy films in the 1990s (when he was then a kid). The lead actress is played by Han Yu Jie (韓雨潔), a newcomer in the Taiwanese film industry who landed the role after taking part in the region-wide audition. The star-studded cast also includes the acclaimed singer-actress (hailed as the mandopop goddess) Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄) and Hong Kong film Awards winner Xu Jiao (徐嬌), who played supporting roles.

Rhythm of the Raintells the story of 2 buddies, Vincent (Shi Xiao Long) and Alan (Alan Kuo), who falls in love with the same girl – Xiao Jie (Han Yu Jie), who’s hearing impaired. Vincent keeps his distance from Xiao Jie because of loyalty while Alan proceeds to win over her heart. Over time, Alan proves to be unable to understand Xiao Jie and Vincent becomes her pillar of support and confidant, entangling them in a love triangle.

Newcomer Han Yu Jie held her first film role well, despite the challenge of portraying a hearing-impaired girl. However, it was no smooth sailing for her. Han spoke to the media during the press conference that while shooting her first scene, she could not get her tears to flow when she was supposed to cry. She felt inadequate and sought advice from Alan, who has much more acting experience. Han blamed herself for being a “lousy actor” and broke into tears while conversing with Alan. The actor-singer comforted her with words of encouragement, and she quoted Alan in Chinese, “A good actor doesn’t necessarily need to know how to cry. A good actor can induce the audience to cry, without himself/herself crying.”

Beyond the rich emotions of love and good grasping of relationships in the film, Fang incorporated elements of culture by roping in traditional chinese arts such as calligraphy and guzheng (a traditional chinese instrument). To further emphasize on culture, Fang decided to shoot part of the film in Singapore. Fang mentioned during the press conference that they production crew was also considering Beijing and Hong Kong, but ultimately chose Singapore because of the diverse community in the country, which can then showcase the abundance of cultures in the film.

Fans of the Taiwan media industry will also be treated to cameos of various celebrities such as Bai Yun, Aisa, Victor Wong and also Singaporean pop duo, BY2.

Perhaps it’s due to Fang’s profession, it’s no surprise that some scenes and shots in Rhythm of the Rain very much resembles the style of Jay’s music videos. What’s more, Fang once played the protagonist in one of Jay’s music videos, “珊瑚海” (shan hu hai / Coral Sea). Other than reflecting similar styles, the film also has poems appearing onscreen and being recited. Though out of the norm, it’s not jarring and actually fuses well into the film.

Rather, what’s bothering are the product placements towards the end of the film, where it’s too obvious to go unnoticed, such as the camera panning towards the sign of Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge at its entrance as the characters leave the lounge.

Despite that, Fang’s directorial debut has been a pleasant watch with beautifully shot scenes of rain and nature. Fang explained during the press conference that the production team worked hard in scouting for scenic locations and their goal was to cast scenes with backdrops like images on postcards.

Indeed, hard work pays off.

Rating: 3.5/5

Release Date: Oct 10

Runtime: 119 mins

Language: Mandarin

Censorship Rating: PG13

Genre: Drama / Romance

Director: Vincent Fang

Main Actors: Alan Kuo, Ginnie Han Yu Jie, Shi Xiao Long


Photos courtesy of Sirius Art Pte Ltd, Rhythm of the Rain production crew, and Klix Photography/Christopher Sim