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Spider Lilies
Spider Lilies
Actors: Isabella Leong, Rainie Yang, Shen Jian-Hung, Kris Shie, Shin Yuen-Chen
Director: Zero Chou
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
2008     1hr 37min

NTSC/Region 0. Limited two DVD edition. Behind Every Tattoo, There's A Secret. Two young women reawaken a dormant love for each other in Spider Lilies, a relative leap into the big-time for Taiwanese director and lesbian f...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Isabella Leong, Rainie Yang, Shen Jian-Hung, Kris Shie, Shin Yuen-Chen
Director: Zero Chou
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Polaris Film Production/The 3th Vision Films
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
Edition: Import
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Beautiful Inked Flowers
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 03/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"On September 21, 1999 a devastating earthquake rocked Taiwan killing over 2,000 individuals and injuring more than 10,000. Also more than 10,000 buildings were destroyed or irreplaceably damaged. It is right before this destruction that a young Takeko, her dad is Japanese and her mom Taiwanese is experiencing her first romantic encounter with a pretty female classmate of hers. Unfortunately for Takeko, the earthquake kills her father and leaves her younger brother in a near catatonic state. It seems that the only thing that he can remember is his father's lily and skull manjusaka tattoo. Devastated by the death of her father and the condition of her brother, Takeko has the same tattoo inked on her own left arm and eventually becomes a highly skilled tattoo artist herself in Taipei where she continues to look after her brother and tell him stories about the individuals who comes to her shop, including a young hoodlum named Adong who begs Takeko constantly for more tattoos.

One day, a pretty girl wanders into Takeko's shop and requests the manjusaka tattoo that Takeko sports after seeing the illustration on the shop's wall. Takeko refuses, but the young woman, whose name is Jade, won't be put off because she says that the first one she fell in love with sported that same tattoo. Takeko believes that Jade's memory is a bit fuzzy because she met her supposed first love at the age of nine. However, Jade insists and gives Takeko her business card and as Takeko soon learns, Jade is a webcam girl who strips for money online. However, her memory is also piqued because of a lime green wig. It seems that Takeko knew Jade long before, and that she is the girl's first love.

Spider Lilies does not follow a linear storytelling pattern. The story constantly jumps between the past and the present thereby filling in the details of the story without spoon feeding it to the film viewer. At some points the film is quite interesting because of the creation of other "worlds" through the internet, but the subplot of Takeko and her brother and even the beginning of Takeko and Jade's relationship is quite hackneyed with the only difference being that they are both women. In the erotica department, Spider Lilies is quite a subdued film, so those looking for girl on girl action, instead of a moderately well-crafted story and likeable characters, will most likely be disappointed.
Deep Love
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Spider Lilies"

Deep Love

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

The pathway to hell is supposedly lined with Spider Lilies. They contain a poison which causes one to lose memory. In the film "Spider Lilies" (Wolfe Video) memory is the central theme. Taiwan sends us this beautiful lesbian love story in which the characters are asked if their memories are faulty and if thoughts can be repressed.
Living with her grandmother is Jade who is an internet web-cam girl and earns money for being employed in the sex trade. She trades intimate moments on the web by selling nude pictures. Since she was nine years old she has had a lover, Takeko, who is a tattoo artist. She has a Spider Lily tattooed on her arm and Jade also wants one so that she can rekindle the wonderful days of love she had in the past and to also hope that her love with Takeko will become stronger.
I remember when tattoos had serious connotations unlike today. The movie looks at tattoos in a way I have never seen before. We learn of the specifics behind certain tattoos and why people get the ones that they do. Herein lies the key to the symbolism of the movie--the hiding of real intentions and emotions behind something and then feed off of the energy of the design.
This is cutting edge cinema and it uses the lesbian love angle to bring the audience in. It is actually the Hong Kong angle of the movie that overshadows everything. Takeko is shy and reclusive and has t care for a mentally challenged brother. Jade and Takeko share a past and an anger. When Jade tells Takeko that she wants a Spider Lily tattoo, the two women begin exploring their pasts (with little dialog). But as they muse about their pasts as well as their future hopes, they hurt everyone including each other.
What makes this film better than the usual is the depiction of lesbian emotions and it does so fearlessly and without caution. The film also looks at those marginalized by society and gives an in depth perspective of life. The movie likewise helps us to see how different people have different ways of acting upon and acting through desires and how they cross from trauma to freedom, where one learns to deal with suffering. Thereby we can learn in which we can act.
Using the tattoo as allegory, we get a story told through pictures that reflect the past and bring the future into focus. This is a deep movie. Jade is trapped by what happened in the past while Takeko is simply trapped. They come together to build a future based on the past--a past they shared. With such a strong story, I expected better acting and that seems the only drawback of the film. The girls past is shown as sweet and bitter and when looking at the past, emotions are very high. Nevertheless it is a fine movie in its originality and will be a wonderful addition the canon of GLBT cinema.
Katrien Sauviller | Herentals, Belgium | 01/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I simply love this movie, it's acted very good, it has a strong storyline
I reccomend everybody to see it because it is one of the better lesbian movies around!!!"
A Perfect Film
Sheeba | NY, NY | 07/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I LOVED THIS FILM! Zero Chou has to be one of the most exciting new film makers out there. This film has it all: interesting story line, good writing, great cinematography and direction, and superb acting. A PERFECT film! Can't wait for Chou's next film "Drifting Flowers"!"