Hidden Track -- A Spectrum of Female Desire

On the surface, Hidden Track seems to be a romantic girl flick about the quest for love. Look closer, and you can see it brimming with female desire, about to overthrow. The director's lack of restraint and some tantalizing scene design result in an eye-popping spectrum of female desire.

The story is simple. Popo is determined to look for the hidden track in a Jay Chow CD which formed the background music in her first lovemaking with her ex-boyfriend. In her quest, she encounters Yue, Paul, a man with a lot of names, a female taxi-driver with a lot of names, and a policeman. She comes to know their philosophy on love and, finally understanding herself, she finds her "true love".

What makes the film stands out is, though representing different attitudes towards love, the main purpose of the above-mentioned characters seems to be serving as objects of desire in front of the camera. The most obvious is the section of the policeman played by Daniel Wu. The slow-motion of him looking back and directing traffic reminds one of Bishonen, directed by Yofan. It is a feast for the eyes lurking behind the camera. When Denise Ho goes into the gas station, the camera behind her shows us the craving eyes of the men falling on her. The intention is none too subtle. But the director does not stop here. We are treated to a water-splashing scene, with hunky bodies frankly displayed for our viewing pleasure. The female desire is released and satisfied —though just with the eyes. No wonder Popo has this monologue when looking at Denise Ho, "Are you happy? I think you are happy."

Hidden Track claims to be about the quest for love, but it never manages to tell us what is love – we just see the characters come and go, and what they are after is happiness. No, to be more exact, it is the avoidance of pain. Paul shows us what is meant by love in the new millennium. It is hurt-proof narcissism. With his beloved dog dead, Yue sets out his condition for its replacement: it cannot die before him, and no sudden disappearance. The pain of falling out of love (special effect: the sun comes out to dry out the male lead's tears) can only be treated by the happiness of falling in love again. Finding her new man (getting on the Daniel Wu's new motorbike), Popo forgets about the hidden track. The idealism and complexity of love gives way to the satisfaction of female desire.

By Longtin

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