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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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