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Genre: Drama/Comedy
Starring: Siqin Gaowa, Chow Yun Fat, Zhao Wei, Shi Ke, Lu Yan
Director: Ann Hui
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007



- Interview with the director and the casts
- Making of




Languages: Mandarin/Cantonese
Subtitles: English/Chinese/
Traditional Chinese
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins
Region Code: NTSC 3




This is a tragicomedy with a warm and humanistic perspective. It scans through the vicissitudes of current Chinese society and explores modern values and views of life of the Chinese society and people where changes are taking place. One morning Auntie encounters a charming middle-age man Pan in the park. They fall in love at first sight. However Auntie loses all her money in a joint investment with Pan and Pan has vanished out of her life forever. Auntie also encounters a poor country woman Jin Yonghua on the street. She provides shelter for this homeless woman. To her surprise, she discovers that the woman makes a living as a swindler. All these incidents seem such a blow to Auntie that she falls from an overpass. While in hospital, her daughter that they have never see each other for 15 years visit her...


Before I continue to blabber on with the review for this flick, I must admit that I might have been rather dense and wasn’t capable to appreciate the “higher intellectual musing” of the issue that was presented here.

The biggest draw for this film (personally) would be the involvement of Chow Yun Fatt and the direction of Ann Hui, one of the noted directors in Hong Kong. It also collected a number of awards such as the Best Actress (Siqin Gaowa) and Best Original Film Score (Joe Hisaishi) at the 27th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards. This film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the same award. Understandably the expectation of this film was quite high; specially Chow Yun Fatt stuck with this film and left Red Cliff because of creative differences (reads disapproval with the scripts or monetary disrupts as rumours had it which made it even more intriguing as one wonder how much does The Postmodern Life of My Aunt had to retain the service of Mr. Chow).

The biggest problem of this movie was episodic manner of story telling with very little linkage. First we were introduced to the Auntie’s (Siqin Gaowa) visiting nephew and his little unique romance interest. But before there is any build up to this introduction, the nephew had to leave as abruptly as he entered the story. Then came Chow Yun Fatt’s hammy swindling con man who “stole” all of Auntie’s money (shouldn’t be a spoiler as it’ listed on the synopsis of the Dvd’s back cover). Not only that, this movie also introduced another shady character who “betrayed” Auntie’s trust and supposedly the combination of those two characters caused Auntie to be so hurt that she fell from the stairs. As again, both various story arc did little to escalate the emotional aspect of these film and Auntie’s fall wasn’t impactful at all.

Actually none of the various story arcs were impactful at all. Even the twist that Auntie’s daughter (Zhao Wei) revealed after Auntie got admitted to hospital felt uneventful. All these story arcs managed to show Auntie’s character as a proud, osy, overly upright, stingy character with a tinge of regret with the choices she made in life.

Are there more to it? Supposedly these are representations of change in the Chinese society in the times of change but I guess only those who like to over think a movie will be able to find those interpretations and enjoy this film.

Perhaps I am not well verse in what the director and writer was trying to say but as a layman watching The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, the story wasn’t engaging enough, nor was it comedic enough. In fact, it felt so monotonous realistic that it’s like following the exploits of that kapoh (overly inquisitive) self righteous aunty from wet supermarket. Pending what interest you, this definitely didn’t do it for me.


On the second disc, contain the extras for this film.

The Teaser Trailers section - Teaser trailer #1 runs 9 mins long and basically condense the whole movie. Do not watch if you don’t want to be spoiled for this movie. Teaser trailer #2 felt more like a proper trailer. Why is it called teaser when it doesn’t really function as a teaser? As again, this is beyond my understanding.

Interview with the Director and Cast - Basically an interview section with director, writer and cast with Chow Yun Fatt notably absent. One notable bad point during Siqing Gaowa interview was how the cameraman set up the shot, placing the actress in the middle of the shot while Siqing Gaowa talks to her left side, leaving a lot of dead space in this shot.

Another amateurish mistake here was during the interview with Joe Hisaishi, the famous Japanese composer who did this movie’s soundtrack. Besides having him talking in an awkward angle, there isn’t any English or Chinese subtitle that helps the viewers to understand what’s being said. The last time I check, this is a Hong Kong DVD and not a Japanese DVD (which normally are not foreign language friendly).

Highlights (or "The Making of" that listed on the back of the DVD cover) - Right from the start, it’s quite obvious that “the making of segment was going to be an amateurish effort as it seems that it’s being capture by someone on set with a DV cam. It doesn’t even come with a title page to tell what aspect of the film making that this “making of” segment is trying to show.

Although it felt very raw, it does show the stars and various personals behavior and interaction as it is. So if you always wanted to visit Ann Hui’s set or checks out the various process of film making (even the pointless time wasting on set), then give this section a spin.


This video is presented in both Mandarin and Cantonese soundtracks. Although this DVD is from Hong Kong, most of the actors are from China and personally, the Mandarin soundtrack is the way to go. It also comes with Chinese and English subtitles. 



Review by Richard Lim Jr


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