World Cinema Series: Autumn Moon
||13 August 2013 (Tuesday), 7.30 pm
||National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road
Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating.
Autumn Moon / 秋月
Director Clara Law
1992 / Hong Kong & Japan / 103 min / 35 mm / Rating TBC
In Cantonese, Japanese and English with English subtitles
Before Autumn Moon, director Clara Law dealt with the problem of transmigration, displacement and identity in a string of films for the Hong Kong film industry ranging from The Other Half and the Other Half / 我愛太空人 (1988), to The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus / 潘金莲之前世今生 (1989) and Farewell China / 愛在別乡的季节 (1990). The films ran the gamut of genres from light comedy to fantastical period costume drama. With Autumn Moon, it appears that Law was momentarily unburdened by box-office concerns. The film bristles with an authenticity and thematic lucidity unseen in Law’s works since her graduating film They Say the Moon Is Fuller Here / 外国的月亮圆些 (1985).
Autumn Moon revolves around a chance meeting and an unlikely friendship between a teenage Hong Kong girl, Li Pui-Wai, and a male Japanese tourist, Tokio. In the film, Li’s parents and brother re-locates to Canada, leaving Li behind with her grandmother, who is presented as an obstacle in the family’s emigration plans. Li spends her days skipping classes and wandering the streets. Tokio drifts into Hong Kong looking for bargains, sex and authentic Chinese cuisine. Although neither is a migrant in the conventional sense, the theme of migration dominates their lives. For Li, it is her sense of displacement for having been left behind by her family and the uncertainty looming in the near future, while for Tokio, his past catches up with him unleashing an existential loss of identity and purpose in life. When their paths intersect, an awkward relationship develops amidst smatterings of broken English with which they strive to understand each other. In one of their numerous conversations, both Li and Tokio found themselves on the verge of an interpersonal breakthrough when they both discover that the Chinese and Japanese (kanji) character for “boredom” is written in the same way. In the Hong Kong of Autumn Moon, such connections are few and fleeting, they are invariably drowned out by the cacophony of the city where modern objects and technology reigns over any real communication. The budding friendship between Li and Tokio becomes an anchor for them in their search for self-identity in an increasingly alienating world inundated with clichés and indifference.