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When novelist Ting-Yin (played by
Angelica Lee, The Eye) decides to delve into the supernatural
for her next book, she opens a door to another realm. The world she
is transported to is the home of the ideas, objects, places, and
people that we have abandoned.
As the movie opens Ting-Yin is
struggling with the writing of her latest novel, Re-Cycle. At
a press conference where the book is announced, she is asked if she
has ever seen a ghost. She answers that she hasn’t and that even
though she is afraid, she still wants that experience. She wants to
feel “terror that wells up from the heart.”
As she writes, the boundaries between
art and life break down. She has paranormal experiences that inspire
her writing and also her writing seems to come to life. The Pang
brothers are masters of using everyday things to inspire dread. One
example of this is when Ting-Yin comes home to find long strands of
black hair by her kitchen sink – strands that couldn’t possibly
from her short locks and seem to fit a character she had begun
writing about and then abandoned. The fright at knowing a stranger
has been in her home is palpable.
After a few experiences in the real
world, Ting-Yin crosses over completely into the realm of the
abandoned. Danny and Oxide Pang create a breathtaking visual world
that is both filled with horrors and aching beauty. Indeed, the
brothers are as talented at making the audience scream out loud in
fright as they are at breaking their hearts. And they never fail to
deliver a movie that has as much soul as it has eye-candy.
Thrown into this strange world,
Ting-Yin seeks the assistance of the few kindly people she finds. She
is told she cannot stay in the realm for the abandoned and she
affirms she wants to return to her realm but doesn’t know how. She
is told that she needs to journey to a place called The Transit and
that it wouldn’t be possible for to reach this place alone. A young
girl she comes to call Ting-Yu leads her through the various
frightening and beautiful obstacles. The relationship between the two
actresses is natural and very touching. It is the love between the
two that leads Ting-Yin back to herself and to her realm.
The idea of a realm for the abandoned
is fascinating. As Ting-Yu says, everyone has things they want to
forget. But in making the choice to abandon something, we are also
making the choice to abandon all of the potential that may exist in
that piece of art, that relationship, or whatever it maybe.
With Re-Cycle Danny and Oxide
Pang weave a haunting reminder of the responsibility and power of
creativity in all of its forms and the importance of respecting our
past and our ancestors.