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WooHoo! 大日子 (AKA The Big Day)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 6:30pm
Center for Korean Studies Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public

Malaysia (2010, 94 min) Cantonese/Mandarin/Malay w/English subtitles

Director: Chiu Keng Guan
Screenplay: Chiu Keng Guan
Original story: Ryon Lee
Music direction: Alex San
Photography: Yong Choon Lin
Tiger dance choreography: Siow Ho Phiew
Cast: Jack Lim (Beng), Jason Yeoh (Huat), Royce Tan (Rain), Bernard Hiew (Bobby), Gan Jiang Han (Alan, the village head’s son), Siow Ho Phiew (grandfather Lian), Chen Keat Yoke (Lian Rong, his younger grand-daughter)

Malaysia, the present day. Penniless security guard Beng (Jack Lim), who lives in Bellamy village near Kuala Lumpur with his aged parents (Tan Kar Sim, Yap Chu Hock), has just lost his job but cannot bring himself to tell them. Beng and his buddy Rain decide to answer a vaguely worded advertisement for work in the small east coast fishing village of Beserah, just north of Kuantan, and set off on Beng’s motorbike. Along the way, they pick up another penniless friend, nerdy char kuey teow stall owner Huat (Jason Yeoh), who is returning to his home in Penang after being dumped by his girlfriend Mindy (Siow Hui Mei).

When the trio arrive in Beserah, they find the job is performing in a Kuantan Tiger Dance that is only held once every 60 years. As local expert Lian (Siow Ho Phiew) is too infirm to perform, his daughter Lian Rong (Chen Keat Yoke), who runs the family’s salted-fish business, had secretly advertised for practitioners from Kuala Lumpur. Coached by the grandfather, the trio bluff their way along, joined by Alan (Gan Jiang Han), the entrepreneurial son of the campaigning village head (Tong Yeon Choy), and Bobby (Bernard Hiew), an ambitious young guy from Kuantan. Then the trio disover Lian Rong has no money to pay them.

In its mixture of silly-character comedy and heartwarming family values, Woohoo! is Southeast Asian to its fingertips. But it’s also a big-hearted, generous film that’s entertaining, very well-made at a technical level, and doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. This is Malaysia’s first 100% Chinese-produced New Year movie…join us as we ring in (firecracker in?) the Year of the Goat! -Derek Elley, Film Business in Asia

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