RED AMNESIA (闯入者) (2015)

Genre: Drama
Director: Wang Xiaoshuai
Cast: Lu Zhong, Shi Liu, Feng Yuanzheng, Qin Hao, Amanda Qin
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Mature Content)
Released By:  Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 28 May 2015

Synopsis: Deng is a stubborn retired widow who spends her days caring about her two grown up sons and her elderly mother, despite her family efforts to stop her. But her daily routine starts derailing when she keeps receiving anonymous calls. What’s happening to her? Who could have anything against her? Even her husband’s ghost doesn’t seem to know…

Movie Review:

A country with a rich history does not need to try too hard to tell the stories of its people. With us being part of the Asian community, Chinais a fine example that comes to mind. Just look at the films originating from the world’s most populous country (last we checked, it stands at an astounding 1.35 billion). While we are not experts when it comes to China’s history, we have read or heard enough to know there must be a bounty of good stories which can be poignantly told on screen.

We are rather surprised that Chinese film director Wang Xiaoshuai’s latest work made it commercially to local screens, considering there are no big names (the only recongnisable starlet is After this Our Exile and The Crossing’s Amanda Qin, who plays a supporting character here). Besides, we do not remember Wang’s previous films making it to our shores. Looking at the 49 year old director’s filmography, this writer has only caught 2011’s Beijing Bicycle for a film studies module he took in school.

Known as the last film of Wang’s Cultural Revolution trilogy (following 2005’s Shanghai Dreams and 2011’s 11 Flowers), we were not sure what to expect before stepping into the theatres. The trailer makes the 110 minute movie look like a thriller, with a mysterious caller and what looks like a kidnapping involved. The Chinese title literally means “invader”, which made us believe that there is some sort of action and big story twist involved.

When we found out that the film is more than that, it further proves our point that a culturally rich country like Chinacan effortlessly tell an affectingly poignant story.

In this case, the film starts off by introducing viewers to how a retired widow is increasingly getting bothered by anonymous phone calls, and how this was initially conveniently disregarded by her doctor and children as the consequence of an aging individual. The story adds another layer by letting you know that the widow has two sons – one who is leading an alternative lifestyle as a homosexual (still largely frowned upon in Asian societies), and one who seems to be leading a normal life with his wife and child. There is also the widow’s mother, whose health is deteriorating by the day.

Herein lies an identifiable theme of seniors in the society. It’s somewhat affirming to see such familiar life episodes play out in a different country – we empathise with the different characters from their respective points of view, and are impressed by the natural performances by the cast. The relatively unknown actors include stage veteran Lu Zhong as the widow, the scruffy Qin Hao as the gay son, the sturdy Feng Yuanzheng as the family man, and Qin as his sometimes unreasonable wife.

Then Wang takes a turn with the story when he introduces the “intruder”. A young man played by Shi Liu enters the picture, and without saying too much here, he manages to evoke a certain part of the widow’s memory, resulting in her making a trip to the rural provinceof Guizhoufrom the cosmopolitan Beijing.

What happens in the province is a fine display of human emotions, ranging from regret and forgiveness to anger and atonement. When the film’s conclusion arrives, you also realise Wang, who is associated with the “Sixth Generation” filmmakers of the Cinema of China, has told a story of how a country’s past has impacted an individual’s life.

Movie Rating:


(A well told story that vividly illustrates the impact of China’s history, and at the same time poignantly brings out an individual’s wish to atone for her past actions)

Review by John Li

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