In every interests in life there are elusive things that no matter how hard you try somehow it always slips out of your grasp. For an athlete it might be that elusive championship trophy, for a writer a cover feature in a newspaper, for an artist that rare wave of inspiration to create a masterpiece and for a movie fan it can be that movie you waited and searched so long to watch. I have these dilemmas and maybe to almost everyone else because we all want something in this life, only not all the time that fate is on our side. That elusive movie on my part is the ‘Secret’.
Prolougue: SECRET is a 2007 Taiwanese film starring the talented Jay Chou, who also debuted as a writer and director for the film. It’s a simple but very beautiful story that transcends time, music, teenage dream, and LOVE. Jay plays a talented piano major student who just transferred into a prestigious Art School. On the first day he met Rain, who is also a piano major and a classmate. From there they developed a special relationship that’s been clouded with mystery because there are things Rain kept from Jay. The good thing is they both leave those secrets as it is and let them unravel in their own terms which allowed their relationship blossom. “Let’s just cherish the moment that we are together.”
First half: For the first part of the movie viewers are immersed into a sweet love story one would come to expect from great Korean or Asian movies. You can’t help but like Jay and Rain’s chemistry; he lacking that passionate emotion but makes up by impressing everyone with his savvy piano skills and that Kaede Rukawa personna – the silent type, good-looking and insanely talented guy – she on the other hand is this mysterious girl popping in and out of the story. These two make an unlikely romantic pair that successfully conveyed the sweet innocence of a fist love and that first love kiss (nevermind if both actors are already in their mid-20’s portraying high schoolers).
I know I sound a lil’ bit cheesy but the movie is something much better, it’s just the only way I could describe their beautiful romance. Strong point is its simplicity and the story’s ability to convey emotions not just thru character interactions between the lead characters but also with the movie’s overwhelming music display. You rarely see a movie using music, classical music , as its main element and not a background. There’s a piano battle scene between Jay and a character called the Prince of Piano, it was so intense and so fun to watch, err hear. Also one major highlight for the movie is the sweet piano collaboration from Jay and Rain, it was so magical, never seen anything like it since the Ice Dance scene in Edward Scissorhands. Hat’s off to the music.
Second half: In most Asian romance stories, the first half serves as the sweet icing in the cake setting up for the real deal of the story in the second half – where things got a lot serious, sometimes out of hand, and emotionally heavy as the story progress. It’s also the case for Secret, the second half is where you stop liking the story and move on to actually fall in love with the story. There the plot got thicker, the characters turned into lost souls and the tensions got going in its rightful cinematic place. And that’s when viewers get glued to their seats for good. ‘Secret’ is a classic case of Cinematic 101.
The twist came in sooner and downright unexpected at the pivotal one hour mark. I was surprised on how the story moved into a different direction as Rain’s ‘secret’ starts to unravel. I cannot divulge any plot details without spoiling the future viewers of this movie, but let’s just say Jay Chou made a ‘Midnight in Paris’ magic in his very first directorial début. This guy is one heck of a talent.
The Search: As I have said I was searching for this movie for two years. I spent a lot of hours by the Manong Dibidi stands of Quiapo, Binondo, Divisoria and Legarda in Manila, in Colon in Cebu, in the slums Ilo-ilo, and in the heart of Southern Leyte. I was even ready to buy an original DVD copy in major video dealers, tried it in almost every mall I’ve been to. And I wasn’t stupid not to look for a digital copy on the internet. I did, I really did tried to browse on dozens of English language sites… blogs, mediafire, fileserve, media upload and finally torrents. Yeah, this movie is a pain in the ass to find: there are online streams with no subtitles, torrents without subtitles or no sounds at all, zipped files divided into broken links and everything nastiness. That and more in two frustrating years of searching and I did it all for the love of a woman.
CLOSURE: Now that I’ve finally downloaded the movie into my notebook it’s when I lose her. RC and I planned on watching this movie two years ago after I recommended her “Cape No. 7” which was a fantastic movie too. And if you search for Cape No. 7, changes are “Secret” comes into picture. My only regret is I couldn’t find it sooner for her. She’s gone now. She would have loved seeing this movie, I could feel her giggle and amazement as Jay and Rain played together the piano. I can guess she’d cry somewhere in the movie, and I wish I could tease her for that. But hey I cannot turn back time and undo the bad things that fell. I cannot even tell a piano to take me into a place where I could meet her in a younger and healthier state. My only closure is that maybe in a different life, in a world where cancer is curable and all babies are born normal, I’d meet her, fall in love again and perhaps we’ll watch this movie together.