Director: Lian Pek
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 7 August 2008
Have you ever seen 10,000 students learning English from one
teacher – all at the same time? Have you ever met a
detective whose mission impossible is to arrest bad grammar?
Or encountered a 74 year-old retiree who thinks nothing of
ambushing foreigners on the streets just so he can practice
his English? Or heard a Chinese policeman speak English in
a New York Bronx accent?
you haven't, catch Mad About English! - the amazing story
of 1,000,000,000 people and their MAD MAD MAD rush to learn
English! As the clock ticks down to next month's Olympics,
China 's love affair with the English language has reached
feverish proportions. With half a million or more visitors
descending on Beijing for the Games, can the Chinese pull
it off with their newly-acquired English? Mad About English!
follows the inspiring and heart-warming efforts of a city
preparing to host the world by learning a once-forbidden tongue.
won the bid to the Olympics, China began an extensive foray
of preparation to usher the new found glory of welcoming international
guest to their land. Having building massive architectural
marvels like the National Aquatics Center ("Water Cube")
and the National Stadium (aka Bird's nest), one major hurdle
faced the majority of its population. Language. What is a
host to do if they can't communicate with their own guest?
Hence a major sweep of English madness was entrusted upon
the people with hilarity ensured.
might be a little weary of the preceding of such matter. Culture
aside, we've seen countless of viral emails or site ridiculing
the inappropriateness of some rather peculiar English use
in the region from menus to store signs and instructions.
Admit it, we've laughed at it and then came this little documentary
that was thought going to aggravate the situation to the never
ending satire. Well, that was the vibe i was getting from
the trailer personally. But behold upon descending and flowing
through it, i can't help but smile a little at the effort
and determination they bring themselves to upgrade and make
sure they do their country proud. And its not only just about
the up coming event, its also about the blooming measures
and cue that China is catching up with the pace and certainly
in this documentary that the depth of the evolving future
is truly embraced.
as a docu-comedy, Lian Pek, once one of the most recognizable
broadcast journalist, stepping into the seat of a director,
does a great job capturing the charm and quirkiness of the
people. Beautifully captured by Tong Zhijian, the ever changing
landscape of urban Beijing let us take a look from the native
point of view. And many points did they spread from retiree
Jason Yang (who set up Golden Years English Salon), Li Yang
(nick named, Crazy English Teacher, who became the spokesperson
of English learning in China), Qi Qi (Eleven year old student
in English boot camp), Meng (The taxi driver, trying to earn
a pass for his English test so he could drive during the Olympic
duration), Dr David Tool (the grammar cop, who goes around
inspecting bad English signs) and lastly Lui Wenli ( a policemen
who loves to master different accent, having his favorite
- Brooklyn New York!).
is not fun most of the time as we see each colorful character
struggle to make ends meet and fall upon tested. Learning
English for them doesn't just mean better communication, it
also meant livelihood that they could bring themselves for
their future. Documentaries like these are one in a million
and capturing the essence of it all on film, priceless.
(A fascinating tour of the English madness engulfing
Review by Lokman B S