Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
33 Postcards: An Official Australian-Chinese Co-Production
is a debate whether sponsor-a-child programs are truly beneficial or
counterproductive. This film is more
likely to confuse the issue rather than clarify it. Be that as it may, viewers looking for a good
cry will probably find it in Pauline Chan’s 33
opens this Friday in New York.
Mei (“Little Sister”) never really knew the parents who abandoned her at the
orphanage. While she watched as many
other girls were adopted, she always remained.
At least, she had one thing going for her: the Australian sponsor
covering her school tuition. When the
Orphanage choir books an Australian tour, she is excited to finally meet Dean
Randall. Yet, for some strange reason he
never responds to arrange a meeting.
hokey, Mei Mei eventually tracks Randall down—in prison. It seems he is not a park ranger after
all. On the bright side, he is up for
parole soon, assuming he survives the prison protection racket. Being a trusting sort, Mei Mei falls in with Carl,
the son of Randall’s old boss. Actually,
he is not such a bad kid, but trouble is inevitable in their world.
one might argue Postcards presents
both the pluses and minuses of sponsorship program, it pretty unequivocally
suggests the Australian prison system is ridiculously mismanaged. Regardless,
it is impossible to root against the pure-of-heart Mei Mei. There is something about her earnest
innocence that harkens back to China’s propaganda films of yore. Yet, Zhu Lin’s performance has such sincerity
and charisma she will keep even the most jaded viewers totally invested
throughout the film. It is a breakout
turn that deservedly won her the Rising Star Award at the Shanghai International
there is no way he can outshine his young co-star, Guy Pearce doubles down on
understated reserve. Nonetheless, they
develop real chemistry together, even though their scenes together are largely
confined to the prison visiting room.
Unfortunately, as Randall’s public defender, Claudia Karvan (Padme’s
elder sister in Revenge of the Sith)
just stands around condescendingly, as if she is trying to decide if she really
wants to be part of the movie or not.
However, Lincoln Lewis (a great actor’s name) is kind of not bad as
Postcards manipulative? Good gosh,
yes, but the winning Zhu Lin carries it like a champion, while getting a quiet
but effective assist from Pearce.
Recommended for those who appreciate well executed sentimentality, 33 Postcards opens this Friday (5/17) in
New York at the AMC Village 7 and is also available through Gravitas Ventures’
Labels: Australian cinema, Guy Pearce