The Story of 90 Coins 九十枚硬幣的故事 (2015)


Director: Michael Wong 黃振宙

Studio: E&T Films 北京意唐

Language: Mandarin 普通話

Genre: Short Film

Running Time: 9 minutes

Recommended. It’s hard not to recommend less than 10 minutes of your day to a nicely shot romance.

Wang Yuyang 王宇陽 makes a deal with Chen Wen 陳雯. Give him 90 days to prove his love for her. In return he’ll give her a coin every day, and if she doesn’t love him after the 90 days are over, they’ll take the money and buy a farewell drink — never to meet again.

As it happens, they do fall in love, and save those coins for the time they can afford to buy their own place. As time passes, jealousy enters into their relationship in the form of a dashing French colleague who wants to show Chen around Paris. Wang cannot handle his jealousy, and Chen believes he cannot love her enough if he doesn’t trust her. They break up.

As Chen prepares to leave for Paris, she comes across the coins Wang gave her, and the letters he wrote for her. Suddenly, she recalls all they once had.

Official Poster

At just under 10 minutes, The Story of 90 Coins does not have long to make an impression. Indeed, even for a short film this is particularly compressed. Despite that, it manages to pack quite a lot of story telling into its limited time frame.

To achieve this, director Michael Wong has used a style that is reminiscent of music videos, with each scene having an exact emotion and moment in the story related to it. That feeling carries across into the what’s on screen — with everything having a very clean and just-too-perfect feeling. That said, it is all very beautiful, and it’s not hard to understand why it won numerous awards for its cinematography.

Underneath its stylish exterior is a very simple and human film about the difficulties faced in love — and all the small things which make up a relationship. The flashback scenes as Chen reads his letters are particularly memorable, and the idea of the 90 coins a nice touch. In every relationship there’s something that only those involved can truly understand, and these often invoke the strongest emotions.

The film is available to watch online on Vimeo:

The Story of 90 Coins from Michael Wong on Vimeo.

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