By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog December 5, 2008 at 6:02AM
During a time when American independent cinema either grunts elliptically under moody skies or chatters banally cross-legged on the living room floor, the purposeful, probing dialogue in Yen Tan's feels like a throwback to an entirely different reality. When characters talk in Ciao, they aren't being elusive or withholding for a gradual or sudden reveal, they're honestly trying to make sense--and to help one another to make sense--of difficult circumstances and emotions. The filmmaker's faith in dialogue as crucial to narrative and character development as well as to personal recovery and romance may at first seem Clinton-era quaint, but it's really just plain effective. Nothing but cheap suspense is lost when information and honest feelings are exchanged in Ciao, and what's gained is something more lovely, complicated, and true.