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Genre: Comedy
Director: Han Yew Kwang
Cast: Lee Chau Min, Tan Hong Chye, Yeo Yann Yann, Alaric Tay, Catherine Sng, Soundrarajan Jeeva
1 hr 21 mins
Released By:
Rating: NC-16 (Mature Theme and Some Sexual Reference
Official Website: http://18gpictures.com/whmt

Opening Day: 3 Dec @ Arts House and Sinema Old School


When a bra falls on Ms. Teochew, she immediately wins the lottery. Meanwhile, Hainan-boy, whom the bra belongs to begins an earnest search for her lost bra. Her trails leads her to the home of Ms. Teochew, where a struggle leads to Ms. Teochew being booted out of her rented home. Feeling guilty, Hainan-boy invites Ms. Teochew to move in with her. Will this be the start of a beautiful romance?

Movie Review:

When Hainan Meets Teochew opens 3 December at The Arts House and Sinema.
Tickets are available at http://www.bytes.sg/ and http://tix.sinema.sg/
Read our interview with director Han Yew Kwang here.

The Facebook page of this local production tells us that this is an “un-romantic comedy”. But there is something about this 81 minute film which we found extremely romantic, and it isn’t just the unconventional love hate relationship between the two protagonists. There is something about the promising verve and dynamics of creativity that we adore here, especially amidst the tiresome slew of formulaic comedies out there in the market.

And it’s something worth celebrating in the local filmmaking scene.

The screenplay written by Han Yew Kwang (Unarmed Combat, 18 Grams of Love) tells the story of a womanly man and a manly woman who become an unlikely couple. Brought together by a lost brassiere, Teochew (the womanly man) and Hainan (the manly woman) find out what it takes to live up to the expectations of the notion that Hainanese men are said to be make the best husbands, while Teochew wives are said to be the prettiest.

If you haven’t been confused by the mix of gender and dialect groups, and are still with us here, you would be chuckling at how director Han has conjured an interesting concoction of a mismatched couple who do not fall into the nice moulds of a charming male lead and a gorgeous female protagonist. To make things more interesting, cast in these two roles are relatively unknown names Lee Chau Min and Tan Hong Chye – but how spot on this casting is.

Having played bit roles in other productions, Lee and Tan take up the challenge to anchor this film with their very engaging performances. Though not award winning material, you’d be duly entertained by their on screen presence from start to finish. When paired together, the not so tall Lee and the towering Tan make a very amusing sight to behold. The two actors are joined by more familiar names like Yeo Yann Yann (881), Alaric Tay (TV’s The Noose) and Catherine Sng (TV’s School Days) in supporting roles which make up an impressive ensemble.

Shot on the Canon 5D Mk II by the director of photography Liu Long Fei, the colours presented on screen are lush, elegant and pleasing to the eyes. The snappy editing by Grace Xiao complements the pacing of the film, while Neil Lim’s quirky score adds a nice jest to the story. Producer Lau Chee Nien brings all the elements together to make this film with a distinct local flavour – expect nothing less than familiar dialects and, gasp, vulgarities which earned the film its NC16 (Mature Theme and Some Sexual References) rating from our friends at the censorship board.

There are no expensive sets, deafening explosions or fancy special effects here, because Han has written a story which doesn’t require them. What you’d get instead is a grounded comedy which doesn’t bank on contrived setups to milk those laughs. As there are laugh a minute moments, there are moments in the film worth reflecting upon. You’d be moved by the human connections between the characters in the story, and this is done through Han’s smart scripting.

As the film ends with the two leads sharing a special moment together, you’d also feel and experience for yourself the unassuming romanticism between two human beings.

Movie Rating:

(You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’d want to celebrate this unique spark of a movie in the local filmmaking scene)

Review by John Li


. 881 (2007)

. Singapore Dreaming (2006)

. 18 Grams Of Love DVD (2009)

. Unarmed Combat DVD (2005)


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