Director: Royston Tan
Cast: Qi Yu Wu, Mindee Ong, Liu Ling Ling,
Li Bao En, Huang Yi Liang, Hao Hao
RunTime: 2 hrs 1 min
Released By: MediaCorp Raintree Pictures,
Scorpio East Pictures, Infinite Frameworks and Golden Village
Day: 14 August 2008
12 LOTUS tells a story of a talented singer Lian Hua, yearns
for acceptance from those she loves, that they see her for
who she is, beneath the bling of stage costumes, snappy footwork
and the sizeable income she rakes in.
tragedy that unfolds is an age-worn tale of love and betrayal.
Her fall from grace is as spectacular and breathtaking as
her heights of fame and fortune. Despite a heartbreak that
is too much to bear, Lian Hua's indomitable spirit prevails.
Her voice soars one final time, and like a flower that blooms,
it dazzles us, humbles us.
movie has music. This movie has melancholy. This story has
magic. And above all, this movie has all the melodrama you
Singapore’s answer to Baz Luhrmann’s musical melodrama
Moulin Rouge! (2001), the Lion City’s bad boy director
Roystan Tan has followed up from last year’s phenomenal
“getai” hit 881 with yet another musical extravaganza
boasting of colorful costumes, energetic numbers, soaring
vocals (in Hokkien, no less), massive sets and a sappy storyline
that wants you to shed some tears.
melodramatic fashion, we have our female protagonist who aspires
to be a “getai” singer when she grows up so that
she can perform the tragic song “12 Lotus”, which
is made up of 12 verses chronicling a girl’s heartrending
life. And to have you whip out those tissue packs, the plot
develops and has life imitating art - our heroine meets with
misfortune after misfortune, her fragile heart breaking every
single time. Will she get to live happily ever after?
881’s Mindee Ong to play the young heroine, and Liu
Ling Ling to play her older self. The increasingly popular
Qi Yu Wu plays the man whom the heroine falls in love with.
There are also the much talked about cameos by local songbird
Stefanie Sun and celebrity hairstylist David Gan. Quite a
star studded cast we have here, don’t we?
the perfect distraction for a somewhat meandering storyline
which plays itself out over the film’s 121 minutes.
While the second half of the movie which features a deranged
Liu is chirpier, there isn’t really much of a surprise
here, because you already know the heroine’s doomed
finale 10 minutes into the movie. But you’d continue
watching because of Tan’s visually appealing shots and
charmingly written dialogue. With most of them spoken in Hokkien,
you can be sure this would be a hit with both the young and
you can expect show stopping numbers where Ong and Qi dance
and gasp, lip synch, to popular Hokkien “getai”
tunes. The marvelous choreography and art direction makes
up for everything here. When it comers to performance, Liu
is the real star here. Watch out for her gravitating show
tunes – be it a sorrowfully heartbreaking song or an
energetically catchy melody, the veteran “getai”
performer commands your attention with her screen presence.
evidently clear where the movie’s production budget
of $1.5 million went to. The stylish cinematography, the slick
choreography, the polished post production and the detailed
set design are a visual feast. This is probably the filmmaker’s
most accessible cinematic extravaganza yet. Although it does
not leave much room for imagination, we are sure our local
audiences wouldn’t mind, given the countless exhilarating
musical numbers. The movie would probably travel to foreign
lands too, with its glitteringly graceful package.
is this Tan’s best work yet? It depends on whether you
are a fan of his art house films or commercially viable movies.
No matter what, local box office success is definitely guaranteed.
(An accessible musical extravaganza that will appeal to fans
Review by John Li