’29+1′: Film Review

Chrissie Chau and Joyce Cheng title debuting filmmaker Kearan Pang’s contemporary play about life, expectancy and disappointment.

Two women on a fork of a dreaded 3-0 see their dual really opposite lives and worldviews join in Kearan Pang’s instrumentation of her possess one-woman 2005 theatre play, 29+1. Pang, a melodramatic performer (she had a purpose in Pang Ho-cheung’s Vulgaria) and author (again, penning Pang’s Isabella), brings a much-needed womanlike voice to a Hong Kong industry—Ann Hui, Heiward Mak and Mable Cheung being a customarily others frequently operative who open to mind—and nonetheless she has nonetheless to get a hoop on film as a form, her entrance underline shows promise, and is a acquire depart from a martial actioners, retro mafiosi epics and pretentious comedies Hong Kong has mostly been pumping out lately.

Given a Lean In-lite calm and a span of popular, likeable leads, 29+1 should do important business during home—particularly in light of a play’s success—and could measure on a art residence circuit in Asia. Farther afield, a film will find a warmest acquire on a female-friendly festival circuit, and a medium prolongation could assistance it find an assembly on some-more insinuate streaming and download services.

29+1 starts with a peppy, perky, snarky fourth wall-breaking morning slight that sees rising PR veteran Christy Lam (Chrissie Chau) removing prepared for work. Her cosmetic fast and a rest of a decisions that go into removing prepared for work are interrupted with purposeful comments, and nonetheless many have been pronounced before, Chau creates a whole theatre charmingly jaded. The rest of her day is uneventful: she deals with unhelpful landlord Mr. Leung (Jan Lamb), a apart beloved (Benjamin Yeung), and unsolicited life recommendation from her cabbie (Eric Kot)—but a remarkable graduation during work. Also: her 30th birthday is around a corner. Things start to raise on with an Alzheimer’s-stricken dad, prominence during work in a form of a tetchy spokesmodel, and a remarkable eviction. It’s a eviction and rent Mr. Leung finds that brings her into devout strike with Wong Tin-lok (Joyce Cheng), also 29 and innate on a same day, who’s out of city on a dream outing to Paris. Christy reads Tin-lok’s journal, that chronicles her childlike rebuttal and insurgency to vital adult to work and marriage expectations. Naturally, Christy finds new instruction in life.

However clever a source element might be, Pang’s preference to stick so closely to it stylistically is a strike and skip proposition. Technically a film is polished, a second half flirting with roughly expressionistic images (courtesy of cinematographer Jason Kwan). Breaking a fourth wall and Christy’s few flights of anticipation (usually fantasies about how she’d like to conflict to insanity rather than how she should) might have worked on stage, though come off as gimmicky in a film; one gives approach to a other median through, eventually digest both pointless storytelling elements. The film ends with a oration on self-determination, and a discourse tends toward a on-the-nose instead of a kind that allows viewers to pull their possess inferences. A lovely theatre with Christy and her boss, played by a matchless Elaine Jin, deliberating choice and bewail is a primary example. Admittedly it’s a prominence regardless.

And that’s Pang’s trump card: her stellar cast. Cheng is a daughter of renouned Hong Kong celebrity Lydia Shum—otherwise famous as Fei Fei, or “Fatty”—and was on lane to cocktail stardom. No surprise, government demanded she dump a ton of weight, that she did, eventually giving up, gaining it back, and ban a torpedoes in doing so. In 2016 she had a strike with empowerment anthem “Goddess.” Her layered opening as a confident Tin-lok takes a honestly relocating spin late in a film (even if a account cops out), generally in a scenes she shares with her best friend, Hon-ming (Babyjohn Choi, another surprise). Chau, on a other hand, is best famous as a low-level indication and allied ancillary singer (her many high form purpose might be as “Demon Number 4” in Journey to a West: Conquering a Demons). Frequently referred to as a pseudo-model, she hasn’t let that worry her, and it’s given her an picture among peers as a immature lady dauntlessly forging a career notwithstanding critics. Pang (who played both characters on stage) has finally given Chau a event to indeed act like a formidable person, and she turns in what could be a game-changer for her career. Like Cheng she shines brightest in a quiet, contemplative moments, and both make these women tangible and, above all, relatable.   

Production company: Asian Rich Ltd

Cast: Chrissie Chau, Joyce Cheng, Babyjohn Choi, Benjamin Yeung, Elaine Jin, Eric Kot, Jan Lamb

Director: Kearan Pang

Screenwriter: Kearan Pang

Producer: Allen Chan

Executive producer: Stephen Shiu, Xu Ziquan, Joy Hung

Director of photography: Jason Kwan

Production designer: Chan Chet

Costume designer: Cecilia Chick

Editor: Lee Him-ming

Music: Wong Ngai-lun, Janet Yung

Casting: Lau Wing Lui, Wong Hon-ching

World sales: China 3D Digital Distribution Limited

 

In Cantonese

No rating, 110 minutes

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