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  • James Tam

37 - A Beautiful Movie 一套感人的电影 “37”

Movie “37” is a Mainland and HK joint production, supported by the Hong Kong Film Development Council, directed by Chen Guo Xin. Main actresses include Liu Xiao Qing, Charlie Yeung, and Lin Miao Ke.

When a friend invited me to view the movie, promising breathtaking scenery and delightful songs by cute and organic Mongolian children, I was skeptical. I love good movies but don’t have the stamina to sit through bad ones. That’s why going to the cinema has become an annual event. The occasional experimental artsy creation could be a pleasant surprise; unfortunately, most are impenetrable. Straightforward coherence, though extremely rare in everyday life, is paradoxically regarded ordinary and unoriginal by many artists.

The name “37” turned out to be the worst thing about the movie. It was beautiful, moving and charming, not hokey as I cynically suspected.

A good drama does not necessarily need a convoluted plot. “37” is nearly too simple for words. A single Hong Kong career mum (Charlie Yeung) and her little girl (Lin Miao Ke) travel to Mongolia — half business, half vacation. In the beginning, they cringe at everything, suspecting everyone, would not even touch the armrest in the beat-up vehicle before covering it with tissue paper. Then the little girl starts playing with the Mongolian kids. Through the children’s friendship, their outlook changed. End of story.

The moral of the story is obvious, something that the director has wisely avoided labouring. The materialistic and untrusting angst which plagues urbanites is contrasted against the generous spirit of people nurtured by the expansive steppes. We are shaped by the environment we live in. By ruthlessly altering the environment, we have unwittingly changed our body and psyche.

I “interviewed” the voluble Hong Kong producer Frank Lee afterwards.

The idea first struck Frank when he visited Inner Mongolia in 2006 on invitation by Wang Ji Yuan of Phoenix TV who, ironically, regarded television a threat to folklore culture. Wang spent part of his childhood in Mongolia, and wanted to do a documentary on sub-tribal songs facing imminent danger of being forgotten and lost.

Being a venture capitalist, amateur screenplay writer, and a jazz band manager (among other creative ventures), Frank was immediately impressed by the Quintessenso Children’s Choir of Hulunbeier comprising 37 melodious kids (hence the esoteric name of the eventual movie). One thing led to another, with seeding support from the Hong Kong Film Development Council, the movie was born. Frank likened “37” to The Sound of Music. In many ways, it’s more. It’s more relevant to our times, inviting us to pause and reflect the gains and losses of human progress.

The movie is now freely available on Letv. Here’s the link: The only price to pay is a one-minute endurance of some dumb on-line game commercial. It’s in Putonghua with Chinese subtitles. A NOW-TV version has English subtitles but I don’t have the direct link to it.

“37” 是一部中港合作电影。导演是香港电影发展局的新锐陈国新。演员包括刘晓庆,杨采妮和林妙可。









李志刚将“37” 媲美 “仙乐飘飘处处闻”。但我觉得“37”除了有同样迷人的儿童演员和音乐之外,更带有急切的时代讯息。生活在21世纪的智人物质过剩,却多方失衡。看了“37”可能会对人类的所谓发展作出片刻反思。

“37” 现在可以免费于 Letv 欣赏。链接如下:。

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