Flavors of Youth

Director: Li Haoling, Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing and Yoshitaka Takeuchi
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 0.5

This collaboration between Chinese and Japanese artists consists of three abysmal short films: in "The Rice Noodles," a young man's entire world revolves around eating the title treat and talking about the senses it stirs up (Proust he is not), for "A Little Fashion Show," a snippy model worries about getting older but has her spirits picked up by some friends and in the third segment, "Love in Shanghai," a college graduate is reminded of an old love by finding a dusty cassette tape. There's a concerted effort to make the bits seem 'wistful' and 'deep' - all those hazy shots! - but it's just so forced and unnatural: you can't create a 'poetic effect' by will alone ... or by having your voice over actor(s) 'sound' 'serious.' One would think the complex (and sometimes grotesque) history of the two countries would 'spill over' into their joint effort, but no: the entire thing is flat and mushy. Pass the MSG.