Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The 3rd GENERATION: Bold bid at Artiness

THE 3rd GENERATION
(Malaysian art movie in Cantonese)
Time: 110 mins
Rating: * *
I-Fun and Nicholas Teo in 3rd Generation

TO movie-goers, the term ‘art movie’ often implies boring efforts by ego-centric film-makers keen on exhibiting self-aggrandising works. So it is a wonder to me why the people behind The 3rd Generation would want to proclaim it as Malaysia’s ‘first art movie in Cantonese’.

Do they honestly want to attract only ‘art movie’ fans? Or, as I suspect, ride on the coat-tails of Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood For Love?

The 3rd Generation, the first feature of director C.L. Hor, is based on the urban legend that a family’s wealth cannot be retained after the third generation. The story is about the Chan family headed by its patriarch, Chan Wah (Cheng Kam Cheong), who believes in maintaining clan traditions and social responsibilities.

When his younger son, Charlie (Nicholas Teo), comes home with his beautiful bride, Susan (Amber Chia), the old man beams with pride. At the wedding ceremony, Daddy declares that Charlie, who has been educated in England, would henceforth run all his businesses.

Now, is Charlie, a shy and unassuming boy, going to take the family’s companies to greater heights? Or make a mess of them? These questions are not satisfactorily answered because we are ‘distracted’ by vignettes of Chinese culture in Penang, notably, trishaw visits to a foreshore home on stilts (where Daddy Chan has a secret liaison), to a Chinese opera (where Chan Senior is a patron) and a grand old church (where the bored Susan goes to pray).

Charlie takes after Daddy too. He has a thing going with his secretary, Linda (Carmen Soo) but the things they say in their courtship ritual can give you the goose-bumps. And Charlie’s sister, Judy (I-Fun), has not one but two admirers named Alan (Paul Khoo) and Adam (Mervin Sia) whose ‘signature’ gesture is whipping out their comb and primming themselves every now and then. Alan and Adam are from rich families and they squander their inheritance on wine, women and song.

Talking about song, Hor, a former director of MTV spots, has a harmonica number going repeatedly throughout the movie — unlike Wong Kar-Wai’s fine selection of oldies in In The Mood For Love. And yes, Hor adopts Wong’s splendid display of Fifties fashion, including some lovely batik outfits. Unfortunately, he also copies Wong’s irritating static camera angles, filming through doors and corridors, and on feet and shoes.

Story flow is a muddle as we are taken through confusing flashbacks and fast-forwards, like ‘Three Weeks Later’ or ‘Three Months Later’. Indeed, Hor shows a fetish for the number Three, like in 3rd Street, 3rd Shop, 3rd Lamp-post that marks a meeting place, and everything in the movie is in threes or 30s. Why, he even has a wall clock stopping at three o’clock. Very ‘art-three’, eh?

The cast is forgettable, except for I-Fun who livens things up whenever she appears. Nicholas Teo is morose and ineffective as the lead while Amber Chia does what she does best: modelling clothes. To be of any value, a piece of art has to make an impact on the heart and mind of the buyer. The 3rd Generation does nothing of that sort.

7 Comments:

At 5:41 pm, Blogger jesscet said...

Hi Chang Moh, check out this link on a review on this movie. hehe, great minds think alike or just a universal opinion?

http://www.think.com.my/review.cfm?rev_ID=154

 
At 4:11 am, Blogger suanie said...

fuwahhh you are brutal... guess I'll be giving this flick a miss

 
At 7:57 pm, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Hi Suanie
I thought I was being fair and even kind. U should have heard what the others said about the movie.
And if you happen to see it, i would very much like to know what u think of it.

 
At 3:37 am, Blogger jesscet said...

hey Chang Moh, check out these two reviews on the 3rd generation.

i'm tickled by the first and awed by the second!

http://www.kakiseni.com/articles/reviews/MDgxNA.html

http://swiftywriting.blogspot.com/

what do you think? the latter is a aspiring film-maker himself.

 
At 10:24 pm, Blogger The Great Swifty said...

Er, ah, thanks for the plug.

Here's the direct link to that particular review.

 
At 4:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walking in the cinema without much hope and with very minimal expection....however, this movie can't even meet the very mimimal expection of a person who already don't have high hope in it. Only one sentence to summarize whole of it: "The director is trying to cast the spell of BOREDOM or BORE-DOOM so that all the audience will be dead of BORE-DOOM."

 
At 4:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walking in the cinema without much hope and with very minimal expection....however, this movie can't even meet the very mimimal expection of a person who already don't have high hope in it. Only one sentence to summarize whole of it: "The director is trying to cast the spell of BOREDOM or BORE-DOOM so that all the audience will be dead of BORE-DOOM."

 

Post a Comment

<< Home