Reel Asian Film Festival 2018 Review: TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (Hong Kong 2017) ****

Tomorrow Is Another Day Poster
Mrs. Wong knows her husband is carrying on an affair, but for the sake of their marriage and autistic son, she has chosen to silently endure. However, the mistress comes to disturb them, …See full summary »

Director:

Tai-lee Chan

Writers:

Tai-lee Chan (screenwriter), Nicholl Tang (screenplay consultant)

Don’t let the ordinary sounding title fool you.  This one is the best of the films I have previewed at Reel Asian 2018.  Mrs. Wong (Teresa Mo) knows her husband, a driving instructor (Ray Lui) is having an affair, but for the sake of their marriage and their autistic son (Ling Man Lung), she chooses to silently endure his infidelity for the time being. What follows is an extremely realistic, heartfelt drama of a working-class woman struggling to breakthrough her midlife crisis. 

 One cannot help but feel for the central character, Mrs. Wong.  Director Chan lets us into the reason she persists.  Two reasons, one which is her son who occasionally shows how loving he is  The other is that she has little other alternatives.  TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY and there is nothing one can do about it.  At the film’s mid-point, the film turns into a suspense thriller as Mrs. Wong decides to stab the husband’s mistress to death.  Besides  the compulsive storyline, Chan’s camera also shows the beauty of Hong Kong as a city as well as the terrible gossip that exists in every neighbourhood in such a closed community as Hong Kong.  

Teresa Mo and Ling Man Lung both win acting honours at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FF-BiUHpUc

Reel Asian Film Festival 2018 Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE (China/Japan 2018)

China, Japan 2018 Rated PG 113:00 Mandarin, Japanese with English subtitles North  

“What’s kept hidden has its own power on us.”

On the eve of her latest fashion showcase in Beijing, successful entrepreneur Yuan Yuan is approached by Keiko, a mysterious young Japanese woman. An admirer of Yuan Yuan’s career, Keiko has learned Mandarin and fashion design for a chance to speak with her idol. As Yuan Yuan takes Keiko under her wing, long suppressed memories begin to surface of her time in Hokkaido and the husband she’d left behind.

Yuan Yuan finally builds up the courage to visit the small town she left behind more than 20 years ago in order to confront her past decisions and face her deepest fears. A journey of forgiveness and reconciliation, Wish You Were Here marks Kenneth Bi’s return to Reel Asian. His latest feature, a co-production between China and Japan, is an examination of a woman traversing through modernity and tradition; youth and maturity; past and future. -KE

 

Directed by Kenneth Bi

Kenneth Bi’s third film follows the tone of his early films THE DRUMMER an RICE RHAPSODY – slow and pensive.  I am not really a fan of Bi as his films require a bit of patience to reap their rewards. 

 On the eve of her latest fashion showcase in Beijing, successful entrepreneur Yuan Yuan is approached by Keiko, a mysterious young Japanese woman.  An admirer of Yuan Yuan’s career, Keiko has learned Mandarin and fashion design for a chance to speak with her idol.  As Yuan Yuan takes Keiko under her wing, long suppressed memories begin to surface of her time in Hokkaido and the husband she’d left behind. 

 Yuan Yuan finally builds up the courage to visit the small town she left behind more than 20 years ago in order to confront her past decisions and face her deepest fears.  A journey of forgiveness and reconciliation, his latest film is an examination of a woman traversing through modernity and tradition; youth and maturity; past and future. 

 The closing night film.

Reel Asian Film Festival 2018 Review: RAMEN SHOP (Singapore/Japan/France 2018) ***1/2

Ramen Shop Poster
A young man who is curious about his deceased parents’ past takes a food journey to Singapore where he uncovers more than just delicious meals.

Director:

Eric Khoo

The third film of Singaporean director Eric Khoo named after noodles (after MEE POK MAN and WANTON SOUP) RAMEN SHOP shows Khoo at his sappiest and most melodramatic.  Despite this flaw, RAMEN SHOP still shows the director’s brilliance especially when he meticulously examines both sides of the Singapore-Japan relationship.  

Not many westerners are aware that the Japanese did far worse than the Nazis in torturing their enemies especially during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore during WWII.  The film sees a young Japanese, Masato (Takumi Saito) travelling to Singapore to discover his roots and to make peace with his grandmother (Beatrice Chien).  This is achieved with the help of his comical uncle (Mark Lee) through the fine-tuning of a gourmet dish – bak-kut-teh.  

This is Singapore as it really is, as depicted by Khoo in all his movies where the Chinese speak ‘Singlish’ and not perfect English with a western accent as in CRAZY RICH ASIANS and where the citizens live in cramped single or double roomed flats and not in mansions holding extensive parties.  

Khoo is Singapore’s film pioneer and his films have won awards the world over including at Cannes.  This is the chance for Reel Asian fans to watch a quality film made by a top-notch Singapore director.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joHJKFC77ic