MY SISTER CAME BY TODAY

By Yan Ting YUEN

SERIOUSFILM - as PROD

Drama - Development 2011

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
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • NETHERLANDS, HONG KONG (CHINA)
    • Languages
    • CANTONESE, ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Yan Ting YUEN
    • Writer(s)
    • Aliefka BIJLSMA, Yan Ting YUEN
    • Producer(s)
    • Koert DAVIDSE, Marc THELOSEN, Yan Ting YUEN
    • Synopsis
    • Months after Jade (33, half European, half Chinese) and her husband David move to Hong Kong with their toddler daughter, tragedy strikes. David and Jade’s daughter die in a car accident, witnessed by Jade. She decides she no longer wants to live. She announces her decision to the rest of her family: her European father Jonathan, her Chinese stepmother Lisa and her half-sister Pearl (12). They too had moved to Hong Kong, but a few years before Jade had done. All of them lured there by the booming Asian economy.
      Jade’s decision to end her life shocks everyone, except for Pearl. Even so, Pearl asks her to delay her plan. At least for a while, until after Pearl’s school performance. Jade senses Pearl needs her to stick around for a little while longer. Basically until Pearl has completed the process of transformation from child to adolescent. “All right,” Jade promises, “one winter, one spring, one summer and one autumn, and not a season more.”
      As Jade returns to work and tries to be a good sister for Pearl, we witness the outside world’s inadequate reactions to her loss. It would seem that in this insanely buzzing cosmopolitan city, people have isolated themselves from the important values in life. The loss Jade suffers and her desire to die, expose how difficult her loved ones find it to connect. Unintentionally, Jade has become the eye of the tornado. She touches the lives of the people around her, causing various masks to crumble and ultimately stimulating change. As for Jade: desperately she searches for silence in a noisy city, trying to hear sounds of her lost husband and daughter.
      Jade’s father Jonathan is a PhD in Asian Philosophy, who has always had a weak spot for Asian beauties. His first wife, and Jade’s mother, was Vera who escaped the poverty of mainland China by moving to Europe through marriage with him. Their marriage didn’t last. Jonathan remarried Lisa, who is also of Chinese heritage and with whom he had Pearl. Lisa is a venture capitalist. She is a controlling kind of woman, used to finding solutions for almost everything. But her attempts to “fix” Jade fail, leaving her to feel at a loss. She turns to work, as her relationship with Jonathan is in shambles. In his turn, Jonathan comes to learn his usual passivity won’t work in terms of saving Jade’s life. Nor is it helping his marriage. Slowly but surely he tries to reconnect with Lisa.
      Meanwhile, Jade’s mother Vera flies in from Europe as she thinks her daughter must need her help. Over the years, Vera has become a bestselling author. She struggles to find a way in to Jade’s life while simultaneously attempting to overcome a writer’s block she’s been in for a while. Clearly, Vera has not always been a good mother and Jade seems to be telling her: it’s too late to start. This leaves Vera no choice but to bite the bullet and confront personal issues she has with her past. Ironically, the situation with Jade inspires her to start writing and complete a new novel in the course of that year. But then Jade asks her not to publish it.
      The only person who initially seems at ease with Jade’s decision is Pearl. In a strange way, she too benefits from Jade’s wish to die: a discussion about suicide during class wins her a place in the inner circle of popular girls at school. As Pearl moves into adolescence, she starts challenging Jade and her decision. Much to the relief of Jade. She herself has not changed her mind. What she has changed though, are the relationships in the world around her.
    • Partners & financing
    • attached: Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation - the Netherlands Film Fund - required: CoBO Fund - Rotterdam Media Fund - Hong Kong Film Development - co-producer (world wide)
    • Production schedule
    • coming up
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Mar 01, 2011
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