Movies and Tea #25 – The Father Knows Best Trilogy

Movies and Tea has officially begun its SEASON 4! This season we are doing a retrospective of Ang Lee’s films. The first episode is our heavier one as we dive into his debut films which make the Father Knows Best Trilogy: Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman.

Head over to Movies and Tea blog to listen to our discussion of these films. Let us know whether you’ve seen these films and your thoughts on them!

Movies and Tea

Season 4 kicks off with a Lee’s first three films which are commonly refered to as his Father Knows Best trilogy with the three films connected by thier themes rather than characters.

Pushing Hands – Moving from Beijing, elderly tai chi master Mr. Chu (Sihung Lung) struggles to adjust to life in New York, living with his Americanized son Alex (Ye-tong Wang) and daughter-in-law, Martha (Deb Snyder), a writer who seems to blame him for her own paralyzing inability to focus. But when Chu begins teaching tai chi at a local school, his desire to make a meaningful connection comes to fruition in the most unexpected of ways.

The Wedding Banquet – Wai-Tung (Winston Chao) and his boyfriend (Mitchell Lichtenstein) are living happily as a gay couple in New York City even though Wai-Tung has not come out to his Taiwanese parents (Sihung Lung, Ah-Leh Gua). To get his…

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FNC 2019: J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (I Lost My Body, 2019)

J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (I Lost My Body, 2019)

J'ai Perdu Mon corps

Director (and co-screenplay): Jeremy Clapin

Voice Cast: Hakim Faris, Victoire Du Bois, Patrick D’Assumcao

A story of Naoufel, a young man who is in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again. – IMDB

French animated features always seem to have a darkness to its overall premise. In this case, this upcoming Netflix France Original film (according to this poster is set to release in the end of November) follows two sides of a story. The first is the story of Nafouel, a pizza delivery boy having a bad day that ends up having a random conversation with a girl through a building intercom during a rain storm outside and is intrigued by this stranger and finds a way to approach her while on the other side, it follows a severed hand trying to go through the city to reunite with the body it belongs to. Its easy to see that these two stories are linked together and who this severed hand belongs to and yet, alternating between the two and having it converge at the end gives this film so much charm. Perhaps of the timeline jumping back and forth between the two that the story sometimes does have moments of disjointedness.

Somehow French animated films have such good grasp hitting those bizarre themes and finding just the right balance of humor to make it work. J’ai Perdu Mon Corps is a fine example of this. While Naoufel’s side of the story feels a bit awkward and maybe a tad sketchy if you think about the almost stalker-ish way he chooses to approach this girl. At the same time, he is somewhat of a rather unpleasant character or simply flawed and fairly shallow which is where this film falls short slightly. It all depends on how his character is viewed although there are some believable moments of clumsiness and his trying to work hard to get her attention and some missteps that he does which makes some funny moments. As I always like to mention, flawed characters to begin with makes for the better development characters as they have so much more room to grow and that definitely applies in this story.

Where it does shine right from the beginning is starting with how the severed hand is introduced and the moments of how it goes from location to location. There’s a lot of dark humor to be had, especially as it meets all kinds of things and dangers along the way and is essentially defenceless. Some come out with mostly unexpected outcomes and that just makes each step of its way back to the body that it belongs to even more rewarding in the end.

Overall, J’ai Perdu Mon Corps is exactly as its title hints at. The winning factor here is how it uses the whole concept of a severed hand and can create a rather charming and humorous story out of it. It fits into the whole charm of French animation that is a tad odd but still works out overall to have those dramatic moments as well. As a feature-length directorial debut for Jeremy Clapin, its definitely one that lands very well and has a unique premise.

J’ai Perdu Mon Corps will be hitting theatres for a limited release in US (November 15) and UK (November 22) and also hitting Netflix (for most countries) on November 29th (all based on research on the Internet, so please check or correct me in the comments if you have other more accurate info).