|Index||10 reviews in total|
Director Ann Hui's The Post-modern Life of My Aunt recover her highest level.She blends her humanist cinema with influnce of the post-culturalrevolution. The cast should win dozens of Best Acting Ensemble Award. Chow Yun-Fat,Siqin Gaowa,Zhao Wei,Lisa Lu,Shi Ke show their outstanding performance in the film. The role of Chow,which name is Pan Zhichang,iscute and funny.In my opinion,this is Chow's smartest choice in resentyears. China famous actress Siqin Gaowa,who is the first actress wonHong Kong Film Awards Best Actress,contributed her bestperformance,played the old fashioned lady in The Post-modern Life of My Aunt. Zhao Wei,shocking and amazing,is the highlight spot.Her powerful acting is brilliant.Although she only has 10-min performance,Zhao impressed audience.
When you see the beginning of the movie, you cannot think of the ending. The first half of the movie was very funny. The latter half of the movie was more into the realization and went sadder after. "The Post-Modern Life of My Aunt" is directed by Ann Hui. She is a wonderful director I would say. The story plot was a little bit ordinary, yet she did it so well to let audience or me to see something else more than just a plot. The script and story was very well written interweaving drama. the film's warm humanism transcends cultural borders. Siqin Gaowa, Chow Yun-fat played very well and so did Vicki Zhao Wei as the bitter, gutter-mouth, ghetto talking daughter of said aunt, who surprised me most.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found The Post-Modern Life of My Aunt an interesting movie, and
despite it being a comedy, has a lot of parts that really make you
think. It's a bit exaggerating, but I think that is necessary for the
comedy, like the exaggerating facial make-up of old Chinese operas. I
think I finally realized after a month watching the movie how the
stories relate to one another.
At first as we follow Kwan Kwan to the Aunt's apartment, we see that she is a "modern" woman, educated, tidy and has strong morals. There is a lot of details that give off her "little woman" personality, but she still tries to be a brave, responsible citizen. I think that a lot of modern-age women have similar difficulties.
As Kwan Kwan leaves, we stay with Aunt and see how her life changes. It seems little by little the morals she held goes against her. I think Chow Yun Fat is more than just a swindler, and it's difficult to tell. Concentrating the movie's plot on their love affair seems too narrow. I think the different parts of the story talks about a certain "modern moral" dilemma that we have. Love, friendship, family, generation gap, you always want to do good, but it turns out bad.
After all this, Kwan Kwan visits again before he heads off to another stage of life, and we see as he does, the "post-modern" life of his Aunt. How eventually we all return to our roots, give up the complicated life out there, but still missing the excitement and possibilities.
It wasn't all style, however; the plot was really engaging. It followed
the life of a old fashion, middle-aged woman, living in Shanghai. Her
nephew Kuan-kuan arrives for a visit, then several memorable characters
show a real & dramatic life of the aunt. She tried to catch up with
times,but she is in vain. After she hits an all-time low and falls down
a set of stairs, we know that she has a daughter and husband that she
abandoned in Anshan. Director Ann Hui is smart,she makes the film
hight-light and attractive.Li Qiang,who is the writer of Peacock,done
an excellent work.He will be one of the best Chinese screenplay writer.
The leading actress Sinqi Gaowai's performance is a little disappointing,in comedy senses,she looks uncomfortable and too tight.Chow Yun-Fat is good,his acting is much better than his Hollywood movies.The film is a wise choice for him.Shi Ke and Zhao Wei are amazing!
As the years go by, it is nice to see Zhao Wei mature and improve as an
actress. She has consistently improved as an actress. From her immature
early TV roles, she has begun to mature. We see this in such films as
Green Tea and A Time To Love.
Both are art films that begin to showcase her growing acting range. In Green Tea, she plays two characters with opposite personalities. One is an introvert and the other an extrovert. She is quite believable in how she portrays each. In A Time To Love, she is able to express deep emotion without using any words - something that is difficult to do.
I think that from her, the best is yet to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Call it a hunch 5 minutes into the movie, I had a gut feel that SIQIN
Gaowa (playing the title role) is going to do a lot of acting with her
back. This is when bringing her visiting nephew home, she does a couple
of quick skips moving towards the door of her apartment. I would be
blowing everything out of proportion if I were to suggest that this
little bit of body language in revealing all the frustration and
optimism, hope and fears of this middle aged woman caught in the tides
of changing times. Read from this anything you wish, or nothing.
Next comes a scene that must bring to mind Zhu Ziqing's (1898-1948) moving prose "Beiying" ("Retreating figure") that depicts a young man's feeling at a railway station where his loving father is seeing him off. It's almost the same setting as Aunt sees her 12-year-old nephew off after his sojourning in Shanghai. After saying goodbye, watching Aunt move slightly awkwardly away and finally disappearing into the crowd, the young man can't help showing the feeling of bitter-sweetness reflecting on how, despite generation gap and conflict during his stay, a bond of affection has developed between him and this sometimes irritating aunt.
Then comes the comic relief. The scene is the staircase leading up to Aunt's apartment on the twelfth floor. From a low angle shot, we see from Aunt's back how she is struggling, middle aged and not exactly slim, with bags of grocery. In even worse shape however is her recently made friend carring a huge water malon, a con man as a matter of fact, so deliciously played by Chow Yun-fat. Having seen him recently in "Curse of the golden flower" is an unequivocal reminder of the amazing breadth of versatility of this wonderful actor.
Most punchy, however, is a flashback from the POV of estranged daughter played by Zhao Wei, how as a little girl she saw her mother walking away from a worthless husband and a helpless daughter, suitcase in hand, never bothering to turn her head with even just one brief parting glance.
As suggested by my summary line, "Aunt" is not unlike a road movie, except that the scene is stationary, in Aunt's humble apartment in modern Shanghai. Mentioned above are only a few of the many characters that come into Aunt's life. Who is aunt anyway? According to Director Hui, in an interview with a local magazine, "Aunt is a woman falling far behind the trends. She has only two ways to go: either be comfortable with where she is, or catch up." She tries the latter, and that's where you get the comedy and the poignancy, both.
I cannot leave this brief report without mentioning the original music by Joe Hisaishi, who is equally comfortable with Kitano Takeshi ("Fireworks", "Kikujiro") and Miyazaki Hayao ("Spirited away", "Howl's moving castle").
Life is a journey
Ann Hui have always been an exceptional talent and the pact of realism in her films like July Rhapsody pin points her distinct style of direction. In Hui's pursue for realism, there is always a message that reflects and affects the life of any part of the audience. Whether it is the rebellious teenager years, the struggles of middle age or perhaps the need to adapt into the ever changing world of today, Hui's films have someone for everyone. In The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, Hui ventures into the issue of older people and their struggles to keep up with the rapid growth of modernise cities such as Shanghai. It is a struggle that is relevant to everyone of us and with a brink of the eye, Neo can not imagine what it will be like for him in 50 years time whether he will be grasping on the comfort of the old or adapting into the ever changing society of the future. The film reminds the audience of our parents, grandparents and realising that ultimately change is inevitable and the struggles that they face are seemingly real and tangible. There is a quote from the aunt, Siqin Gaowin that seems frighteningly realistic "It doesn't matter if you cheat me when I am still 17, but if you cheat all my money now, it is like a dead end for me, as I cannot earn it back." It is all the more shameful and disgusting when the audience think back to all those headlines of fail companies and within those companies there are millions of pensioners who have their entire life saving within.
The movie goes like this: Siqin Gaowa (The Day the Sun Turned Cold) stars as Ye Rutang, the eponymous aunt of the title, who lives in Shanghai alone, but happily. Her fortunes change, however, as she soon fall victim to scam after scam, perpetrated by a series of surprising con men, including her own nephew (Guan Wenshou) and a would-be opera singer (Chow Yun Fat) who attacks her weakest point: her heart. With so many people valuing her money over her as a person, how can this strong woman maintain her stalwart, but increasingly outdated dignity? My Aunt is not a film that is all too concerned about the plot, but rather as the title suggests, it is about the journey of one's life. It is an interesting and fascinating adventure to witness through Siqin Gaowa venturing through one scam after another, until finally noticing how much the world have changed. Shanghai has become ultra commercial and the urban myth about the obsession of money is fast becoming the truth than a random saying. The scenes of Siqin in the car as she look out the window of the commercialize lighting in the night time as well as millions of car lights roaming across the screen like ants coming in and out of their nest. It is a sight that she can never imagine seeing 50 years ago. Ann Hui smartly produces the film in a satirical manner and in many ways the beauty of the film lies in Hui's use of images to speak louder than words. Perhaps the most shocking scene of all, apart from Chow Yun Fat bedding Siqin, is when we encounter a typically hot chick, before realizing that half her face is burnt. It is a shocking yet sympathetic sight as the audience realize the imperfect nature of humanity and emphasizing on a theme that Hui is stressing upon, what we see if not always what we get.
Siqi Gaowa portrays an immensely difficult role in a rather natural and understated manner as she is torn between the comforts of the old and the frightening prospect of the new. The moment she realizes that Chow Yun Fat is a conman, the expression within her face is worth embracing as she finally realizes that it is a world she can no longer fit in. It is worth noting that despite Chow Yun Fat single handedly lifts the film to another level; it is nothing more than a glorified cameo. It is all the more disappointing that all the trailers emphasize on his involvement in the flick, which once again indirectly alludes to Hui's central theme of what you see may not be the truth. In another cameo performance, the much missed Zhao Wei plays Gaowa's daughter in a relatively good performance.
All in all, The Postmodern Life of My Aunt is by no means accessible to everyone, but it is ultimately an art flick about the seemingly reality of old age and life. It ponders the audience to question about their future and the fears of old age. The parallel struggles of Gaowa are as close as grandchildren will understand the struggles that our grandparents are going through, until the audience experience it themselves. It is a frightening process to imagine about what was once cool is now totally out of date, but then again who knows what will happen in 50 years time. Perhaps, cars will be flying across the universe, people can walk across the ocean or everything may remain pretty much the same. Ann Hui is to be applauded for creating something so real and so affecting. It is by no means Hui's strongest work, but it is a film that allows us to explore and journey into the unknown
I rate it 9/10
This film is about the unfortunate life of a woman from Manchuria in
From the title, I thought it would be a comedy. In fact it is about a very kind woman who tries to do as many good deeds as possible, but unfortunately her good deeds are not rewarded. The protagonist is an unattractive middle aged lady. Her college education and fluent British English does not save her from making mistakes after mistakes. Each time she does so, I really feel for her. I get so disappointed and saddened. I just don't understand why she still hasn't learn from the past when she has already learned the hard way. It's amazing that the film draws me so close to her, as if she was a part of my family. "The Postmodern Life of My Aunt" is surprisingly engaging and enjoyable. It is probably not a film for everyone, but I would still recommend it to others.
The Postmodern Life of My Aunt is not a comedy, as the ads, and the
poster, would suggest. Instead it's a depressing story of how a woman's
life slides downhill.
I had other problems with the film as well. As someone who has lived in China for seven years, I can definitely say Siqin Gaowa seemed too dowdy to be a Shanghai woman, and Chow Yun-Fat looked too suave and sophisticated to be a middle-aged Mainland man. I also didn't see the point of the young boy's character, although I guess it is an Ann Hui trope (if that's the right word) to have a character's story told through the eyes of a kid. He was a real cypher, and was barely in the film at all. How could he even know that stuff about his aunt? Using the child's perspective in Song of the Exile worked well, but not here at all. I also couldn't buy Vicki Zhao Wei in her role, and her appearance and back story came so out of the blue that it almost seemed like a joke.
All in all, a big disappointment, but I wouldn't have been so upset about it if the film's advertisements didn't make it look like a comedy. I really dislike when advertisers pull people into a film under false pretenses. If it is a tragedy, fine, advertise it as a tragedy. Just don't mislead audiences.
The A-List Chinese-cast could not save this movie to get bored after one hour. Since the stories around the aunt are not connected with each other it's like watching 5 movies in a row. The story is just not good enough to keep the audience interested what's happen next. The music is to heavy to a "supposed to be funny movie" and does not support the story at all. It seem's the writer who wrote the award winning movie Peacock as well is better in writing sad stories. Yun Fat Chow & Siqin Gaowa play nice but there is no magic you can feel between them. A astonishing performance (unfortunatelly to short) gave Shi Ke as a poor mother with a sick kid in a hospital. Unfortunately for Chao Wei; her performance came last when you already lost interest. If you really want to see a funny Chinese movie with a great story watch "Crazy stone".
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