Ocean Heaven (2010)

Ocean Heaven

Ocean Heaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“This film is dedicated to all the ordinary heroes among our parents”Ocean Heaven

*SPOILER ALERT*

Not the typical action film I was expecting from Jet Li–so  I was pleasantly surprised ^.^

What a lovely movie! Jet Li plays an ill father by the name of Wang Xingchang, who spends his last dying months, teaching his Autistic 21 year old son how to take care of himself.

What makes this film feel authentic is in the story development, which takes its time to mature, and of course, the little peices of humanity one feels when one recognizes the father is pushing through the pain, to make sure his son will be fine without him.

Really captures the little sacrifices (that mean SO much), that good parents do for the sake of their children. Whether something small like giving us the last chicken wing, or useful skills like teaching us  to find answers for ourselves; this film shows how love is immortality.

It’s the lets- make- things- into- a- fun- game- so- he- doesnt- realize- this- is good- bye- and-that- he- has- -to- fend- for- himself, that gets me all teary–and reminds of other great film-fathers like Roberto Benigni in “Life is Beautiful” (1997) , Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happiness” (2006), Brendan Fraiser in “Extraordinary Measures(2010) and Tom Hanks (my favorite actor) in Extremely Close And Incredibly Loud” (2011)

And may I add that it’s so refreshing to see films with the “father” character being an admirable positive role model, instead of the lazy iggit dads on tv (no offense to the entertaining Mr. Simpson and Mr. Griffin.)

Aftershock (2010)

FlickJist: Which of your two children will you choose to save, if you can only save one? How would you  feel if you are not chosen—but survived?

Title: Aftershock

Release Date: July 22, 2010

Country: China

Directed by: Feng Xiaogang

Starring: Daoming Chen, Chen Li & Yi Lu

Other films by director(s):  If You Are The One (2008), A World Without Thieves (2004)

Aftershock is what movies are all about: to be able to express complex human emotions with the poetic license to us music, dialogue and visual storytelling.

It’s odd, because although the film is in Mandarin (Chinese dialect), the cinematic quality made me feel as though I was watching a western film. Used sparingly and only when required, digital effects can enhance (rather than destroy) the human experience (like too much 3D.) Either my education in digital media is paying off or I just watch too many movies, but it was bugging me to know that something feels different in this movie, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Naturally, I turned to Google and I found that Aftershock was produced by IMAX— making it the company’s first (and China’s first) internationally-produced digital media remastered (DMR) film!

As a student in film, I’ve experience how hard it is to re-create everyday simplicity—and end up being dramatic, unrealistic or scripted. This film however, was a happy marriage of feeling theatrical, all the while keeping a sense of authenticity. Usually I get lost in time period films if it’s suddenly brought into the future, because it feels unwarranted and displeasing. However, the 2 hours and 14 seconds of Aftershock didn’t feel like 2 hours, because the characters are well-developed; making it almost necessary to move on into present time.

The last scene of the movie is set in the memorial for the 242,769 who lost their lives from the 1976 Great Tangshan Earthquake (USGS.gov.) It makes me wonder, if this could happen to one family, imagine what the possible stories of the hundred thousands of people who also survived the earthquake?

Like I always say: great movies should always make you think. I’ll be thinking for days.