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SIFF 2006, part 8

SIFF screening: Tuesday June 13

Eve and the Fire Horse

This was another SIFF film that attracted my attention for being sounding really lovely and has Vivian Wu. I love Vivian Wu, but hadn't seen her in a while. I had initially passed, but when I had a find 6 more films to see thanks to the acquisition of passes that needed to be used, I added this film.

What I have learned is not just to pay attention to whether a film has won awards at other festivals, but to pay attention to which awards. If they are honors like "Most Popular Canadian Film" or People's Choice awards, run far, far away. I should have learned this last year after suffering through Cape of Good Hope, but I did it again this year. "Hey look, this film was really popular at Sundance, we should see it!" Ugh. What I have learned is that the people suck.

This film was horrible. It is about a Chinese immigrant family with two young girls, Eve and Karena. Eve is struggling with religion. Specifically, the pull between the faith her family brought with them from China and that of her older sister, who has become totally enamored with Catholicism. There were wonderfully imaginative and charming moments in this film. The family, in order to show support for the girls' interest in Catholicism, put up a crucifix with the family Buddha and other eastern icons. There is a great sequence where Eve finds Buddha and Christ dancing together.

While this film had inspired moments, most of it felt contrived. [spoiler alert] We watch Karena become a perfect Christian, trying to convert others and live a perfect, christian life in that absolutist way that some children see faith. But Eve comes across as seeing the big picture. She talks about the Chinese gods to her class and watches her mother practice Buddhism. The film seems to place so much weight on the eastern faiths, that the ending, when Eve abandons her chinese faith in favor of Catholicism doesn't seem at all genuine.

The kids were very good in this film, that it is really a shame that the director was in attendance and spoke after the film. She was so simplistic and girlish. Everything she said annoyed me. Phoebe Kut (Eve) was also at the screening, and I wish that the kid had just taken the mic away from the director and answered that questions. Apparently, 12 year-olds have more interesting things to say and more insight into the films they've been in than the filmmaker, Julie Kwan.


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