HONG KONG SISTER

By Yan Ting YUEN

TRUEWORKS - as PROD

First film - Development 2014

When Jade decides she doesn't want to live anymore after the tragic car crash in which her husband and toddler die, her 12-year old sister Pearl asks her to think it over for a while. Jade agrees to put if off for a winter, a spring, a summer and an autumn, but not one season longer...

    • Year of production
    • 2014
    • Genres
    • First film
    • Countries
    • NETHERLANDS, HONG KONG (CHINA)
    • Languages
    • CANTONESE
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Yan Ting YUEN
    • Writer(s)
    • Aliefka BIJLSMA, Yan Ting YUEN
    • Producer(s)
    • Reinette VAN DE STADT (TRUEWORKS)
    • Synopsis
    • Jade (33) had only recently moved to Hong Kong with her husband and daughter, when tragedy struck. They were in a car-accident which only Jade survived. Jade has decided that she no longer wants to live. We begin the film with Jade’s telling her family that her decision remains unchanged. It is no big deal for her, and she is very calm and clear about it.
      Obviously, her family and friends don’t take Jade’s decision in that same collected way. They cannot accept this, nor are they planning to even try. Only Jade’s little sister Pearl (12) seems to understand, in that intuitive and sensible way some children have. Pearl knows it has nothing to do with her or life in itself. However, Pearl does ask Jade to postpone her decision for a year. At least until after Pearl’s important school performance. Jade senses Pearl needs her support during her transition from child to adolescent. And so she agrees to stay, but only four seasons.
      In the following year, we witness the outside world’s uncomfortable, pained and sometimes frantic reactions to Jade’s death wish. Unintentionally, Jade becomes the placid eye of a tornado. She causes various masks to crumble and even changes the lives of people around her.
      Most immediately we see this within her family. Jade’s father Jonathan (55) is an author of non-fiction books. After having divorced Vera (55), he remarried Lisa (45). Jonathan comes to learn that his usual passivity won’t work in terms of saving Jade’s life. Nor is it helping his marriage. Lisa is a successful Hong Kong businesswoman. She is a go-getter and accustomed to being able to ‘fix anything’. But her active attempts to save Jade lead nowhere. In fact, it drives Jade even further away from them. Lisa turns to Jonathan, only to find their relationship is in shambles. Eventually, they realize it is their marriage that needs fixing and not Jade.
      Jade’s real mother – Vera - is a self-obsessed bestselling novelist. She had married Jonathan in order to escape the poverty of her Chinese childhood in the country. This is her first time back in China. Jade doesn’t necessarily want her there, but Vera wouldn’t hear of it – she flies in from Europe claiming she has come to help her daughter. It’s a little too late to be a mother isn’t it? this subtext lies beneath the relationship between Jade and Vera. To make matters worse, Vera is suffering from writer’s block. Ironically, Jade’s journer inspires Vera. She finds herself typing away at what develops into a masterpiece. But Vera comes to learn that there are other important things, aside from writing that next top novel. In fact, this novel no longer looks as fulfilling as it seemed. She has to first come to grips with her past and to understand what it really means to be a mother.
      As of Pearl, initially she seems fine with Jade’s decision. Yet as she grows older and becomes more aware of her emotions, she starts becoming angry and frustrated with Jade. At one stage, she confronts Jade head-on stating that she finds Jade’s decision egotistical. But Jade is unmoved. Pearl is learning to let go. After four seasons we can see how Jade’s decision has altered the relationships around her. Everyone is in a better place than they initially were. And by the time Pearl steps up unto the stage for her school performance, Jade is ready to leave.
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Feb 01, 2014
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