Film review: 33 Postcards, directed by Pauline Chan

About an hour or two ago, I was sitting on my couch seeking something to entertain me and to occupy my time, as I fight off this sudden cold I have.  I came upon this.  The film, 33 Postcards (click on link to view the official website) by Pauline Chan, was so captivating that I didn’t even think for a moment about my life or where I was.  Time flew by, as I became this silent observer watching these stories unravel between all the characters.  The side-stories and side-characters were weaved into the main story so seamlessly that it created a strong foundation for how this unique masterpiece unfolded.

The beginning starts off sad with a child being dropped off at an orphanage in China.   The film was unpredictable, which is rare nowadays.  Many times during the film, I found myself worried of what would happen.  There are many parts in the film in which Mandarin is spoken and the version I saw did not have translation, so there may be some missed concepts there.  However, I found the main messages to be clear.  Although I have never gone to Australia or China, I felt that they captured a certain kind of beauty of both.  The actors and actresses in this film and in particular, Guy Pearce and Zhu Lin, were brilliant.  A simple glance, a tear and a nod carried heavy, yet simple meanings and we understood what those were.

Without giving too much away, Zhu Lin plays the teenage girl Mei Mei, who is part of the choir at the orphanage.  She, along with her beloved orphan sisters, were invited to perform at a place in Australia.  Mei Mei seeks for her sponsored parent named Dean Randall, played by Guy Pearce, for a connection to the happy, loving life he portrayed in his postcards to her.  However, what she finds is something entirely different.

Underneath all the pain, struggle and crime this film exposes us to, there is freedom, redemption and peace.  Symbolically, this film played and mixed contradictory theme subjects in a way a tango dance would.  There were twists and turns, but ultimately, there was a finale that worked.  Just like viewing a tango and wanting to dance, my watching the film had me rooting for the characters and feeling the agony they did.  It was easy to sympathize with the criminal Dean.  It was easy to feel protective of Mei Mei and her innocence.  Simply put, this film told us a story of two characters who were seeking love and happiness; the kind that a lot of us take for granted with our loved ones.  It was interesting how the boundaries between these two characters grew to be bridges connecting them to one another and ultimately, connecting us all.



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