Tuesday, December 23, 2008

18 Grams of Love by Han Yew Kwang

Running out of ideas on where to go for your dates? I had found something new, yet again - Local movies @ Sinema Old School.

Other than the local movies that's being shown on the big screen, I was completely unaware about the existence of other local films that did not make it for theatrical runs. And more often than not, these films that do not have theatrical releases are due to shortfall in funds, rather than in quality. It's something about being shot in a different medium (eg. HD) & then converting it into 35mm print for the big screen. The money needed to make this conversion is enough for these film-makers to film a new movie instead.

So since when had I become a guru for film-art? Haha ...... of course, I'm not. Everything that I knew was all condensed in that little paragraph up there :p.

Language: Mandarin
Running Time: 85 mins
Genre: Romantic Comedy (Local)

Starring: Adam Chen, Alaric Tay, Magdelene See, Yeo Yann Yann
Writer & Director: Han Yew Kwang

Screened at: Sinema Old School
Regular - $6

Concession - $5
December 26, 2008 - 7:00 pm
December 27, 2008 - 3:00 pm, 9:00 pm
December 28, 2008 - 7:00 pm

Do you know
how much does love weigh? 18 grams. 10 grams for the envelope and 8 grams for the letter paper it carries. With the invention of the mobile phones and internet, snail mails became a thing of the past. And hence, the death of the old-fashioned love letters. Love can now be easily expressed through phone calls, smses, emails and even webcams. Why would one go through the trouble of folding the letter, putting it into the envelope, affix the correct postage and then carry all 18 grams of the letter to the post office for mailing? (Something to ponder.) Who's to know that something as inconsequential as a handwritten letter can, in actual fact, mean so much.

And so the scene is set for a tale of 2 friends, Ah Hui (Adam Chen) and Zihua (Alaric Tay), who suspect that their respective wives, Michelle (Yeo Yann Yann) and Xiao Tong (Magdelene See), are cheating on them. Hence they decided to 'test' their wives by having each write love letters to the other person's wife and see if they reciprocate. But like what the Pussycat Dolls cautioned, "Be careful what you wish for cos you just might get it." (In case it sounds alien, it's taken from the lyrics of "When I Grow Up" :p) Watch how their ploy backfires when their wives start writing back.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that although the show focuses on only 4 characters and had a seemingly simple plot, it actually carries a lot of substance. I applaud Yew Kwang for writing some of the most beautiful dialogues and proses in the show. 18 Grams of Love is so rich in the Chinese language, that it made me see that there are some expressions/ emotions that cannot be achieved if it was not for the Chinese language. And since the core of the show is about declaration of love in the written form, be prepared to swoon over those romantic sayings.

18 Grams is so down-to-earth that I can totally relate to it. Oddly though for a guy, Yew Kwang had an astute insight into the disposition of a woman. Haha .... Maybe he's the answer to our SNAG! (no girlfriend yet *hint*) He understands that there are many facades to a woman and guys shouldn't just interpret our emotions based on our actions. You have to dig deeper to really uncover us but when you find it, you'll see that our basic needs are really simple. (I can't speak for all but I shouldn't be too far off.)

18 Grams is all Yew Kwang. I don't think I had mentioned that he's my 'brother' (Gor Gor). I had known him since we were in Secondary school. (He was from Tanjong Katong Technical while I was from Tanjong Katong Girls'.) And watching the show brought back all the fun memories of our younger days where he would write mushy love letters (in Chinese!) on behalf of his friends. I would read them and grimace, thinking "OMG ..... this is sounds like a cheesy 70's Mandarin movie!" I would be seriously embarrassed because I thought the Chinese language was so uncool then. It's pretty amazing how both of us actually managed to click considering our language disparity. Affinity ...... I guess.

Another element of Yew Kwang are his 'cold' jokes. He says things with a straight face and you don't know if he was trying to be funny or not. But whatever ..... he's just funny even without trying to be. So sitting through the movie was a delight. He had me tickled throughout!

This film had been making award winning rounds in the festival circuit overseas and given a standing ovation at the festival screening in Poland. It's won 2 awards at the 13th Lyon Asian Film Festival and an award at the 5th Ofensiva International Film Festival (Poland). So you see, I wasn't biased in my review just because he's my brother.

And since it had taken me forever to blog this, do hurry to get the tickets since there are not many screenings left!

Behind the scenes
Yew Kwang invited us to the opening night of 18 Grams of Love
I knew since school days that he wanted to be a director. I remembered laughing at his lofty ambition & thought it was just a whim that would pass. (I was a horrid little sister :p) After all, who at that young and idealistic age doesn't dream to be somebody famous when they grow up?
I am extremely proud of him because he pursued his dream & never gave up.
The lady next to him is Magdelene See who plays Xiao Tong. (She's Kelvin's sister. Kelvin is Chermaine's boyfriend. Chermaine is Ken's sister. Haha .... small world!)He's got a few MediaCorp sitcoms under his belt too. *Gor Gor Yao Guang, I can't tell you how glad I am to see you again :D

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