A review of ‘This lady went home for CNY reunion. You will never guess what happened next’
By Zan Azlee
There has been a huge proliferation of online video channels on YouTube in the last few years and this is most probably because of the frustration that youth today face in expressing their views and opinions in the mainstream media.
Malaysia in particular, is a country where many youths feel like they do not have a place in the mainstream media where cronyism and a tight network makes it almost impossible for them to penetrate the television or even film industry.
Hence, the sudden sprouting of local YouTube channels like The Ming Thing, Tapau TV and PopTeeVee. Breaking the mould of traditional television formats, these channels make up their own rules of how video content should be made.
PopTeeVee first started making waves online when they produced the popular The Effing Show, a humorous satirical video series that pokes fun at current affairs in Malaysia.
They have gone on to make many more interesting videos in the form of series and also one-off sketches and video essays. And one such video is a short film in commemoration of Chinese New Year.
Although slightly dated (it was produced in 2014), I found it relatable since it was the zodiac year of the horse and that is my zodiac animal. Also, the writer of the short film, Ching Yee, forwarded the link to me in the middle of the night.
The short film plays on themes that are relatable to all ethnicities in Malaysia, especially the youth. Although I no longer fall under the youth category, I still went through that period.
It is highly likely that this is an autobiographical short film (much like Saw Teong Hin’s latest film ‘You Mean The World To Me’). But you don’t have to be a Chinese celebrating Chinese New Year to get it.
You could be celebrating Hari Raya or even Deepavali, and still find it relatable. Being in a conservative society like Malaysia, one is only too familiar of the family pressures that come such as having to get married, get a decent paying job, etc.
Some may criticise the video for being a little cliche in it’s dealings with the themes. But an argument could be made that this is exactly what makes the video so relatable anyway.
It also helps that the writer employed an entertaining technique that was made popular by Eddie Murphy in his classic comedy hits like Coming To America and The Nutty Professor.
The writer, who in true Murpy-narcissistic style, also played all the roles in the film, albeit with less convincing make-up compared to Murphy’s high budget Hollywood films. Luckily the cuteness factor is on her side and the technique worked.
The play on words in the title of the film seems to be an attempt by the writer to poke fun at the Internet phenomenon that is click-baiting. This would show that the director herself is familiar with the technology and the medium.
However, if anything, the writer could have taken the freedom provided by the medium to be a bit more brave and experimental in creating the content. It would be a waste if this isn’t fully taken advantage of.
At the end of the day, the point is that technology has allowed for the democratisation of the media. People no longer need to depend on gatekeepers to tell them how things are supposed to be done. They are their own platforms.
Interested in making your own films? Then why not get Zan Azlee’s book ‘Guide to indie filmmaking‘ today?
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