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When Hainan Meets Teochew (当海南遇上潮州)


Hainan

Celebrating 11 Years of Screening Southeast Asian Cinema 2004-2015

Wednesday, September 2 at 6:30pm
St. John Plant Science Lab, Room 11 (basement)

Singapore (2010, 81 minutes)
Mandarin, Teochew, Tamil, English w/English subtitles

Director/Writer: Yew Kwang Han
Music: Neil Lim
Cinematography: Long Fei Liu
Cast: Soundrarajan Jeeva (Teochew’s Landlord), Lee Chau Min (Hainan), Catherine Sng (Hainan’s Mother), Tan Hong Chye (Teochew), Koh Tiang Choon (Teochew’s Father), Alaric Tay (Ah Guang), Yeo Yann Yann (Meihui)

The requisites for a romantic comedy film will inevitably be good looking, swoon worthy leads against gorgeous backdrops, brought together by a beautiful coincidence that catalyzes a chance meeting into a relationship…or not. Under the hands of Singapore’s leading comedic filmmaker Han Yew Kwang, this spells an opportunity not only to make an entertaining tale, but one that incisively grapples with universal themes of acceptance and love. And it looks at language lost as the film also addresses the death of Chinese languages (aside from Mandarin) in Singapore, the older folk as characterized by the leads and their characters’ parents all seem all too comfortable in conversing using Hainanese or Teochew, and in the larger real world context here, other Chinese languages as well. I suppose this will be lost in one or two generations, and unfortunately disappearing with it are the wise words of wisdom, interesting sayings (if you don’t already know the significance of the two language groups in the film with regards to marriage then you have got to watch this film), customs and idiosyncrasies associated with the beauty of that particular language

This is a quirky comedy that provokes thought as the film is essentially a celebration of the spirit of independent filmmaking in Singapore. Mostly self-funded and with help from cast and crew members who have laboured during their free time to complete this project (took slightly over a year I believe), production values are at their best within its clear financial constraints, but delivered through natural acting by two acting rookies (Lee Chau Min as Hainan Boy and Tan Hong Chye as Miss Teochow) bolstered by the stellar presence of a veteran team, an assembly of actors from Yew Kwang’s previous films with the likes of Marilyn Lee, Catherine Sng, Soundrarajan Jeeva, Yeo Yann Yann and Alaric Tay.

-Stefan S. (A Nutshell) Review

Support of the course ASAN 491G Cinema of Southeast Asia. Partial funding to purchase the films comes from the U.S. Dept. of Education and generous contributions from our loyal film fans.
CSEAS is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. For disability access, contact us at cseas@hawaii.edu.

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