A Peking Opera fan in her 60s-a Shanghai woman of taste but hardly a woman of
means - carries on a secret love affair with an amateur Peking Opera singer in
the bittersweet "Postmodern Life of My Aunt." You know the rest.
Siqin Gaowa (R)
starring the Aunt and Chow (L) starring the amateur Peking Opera
singer.[Photo by sina.com]
This 60-something Shanghai woman is far from a typical retired lady. A
divorcee, she lives alone, takes pride in her painting, her English accent, and
she adores Peking Opera. She also yearns for love and falls for an amateur
Peking Opera singer.
"The Postmodern Life of My Aunt" tells a postmodern tale of an ordinary yet
remarkable older woman on her own. She still has a passion for life, art and
love, despite age and straitened circumstances. She believes in self-cultivation
The enjoyable, funny, bittersweet film is the latest by Hong Kong director
Ann Hui, and began screening this week with English and Chinese subtitles.
It stars acclaimed mainland actress Siqin Gaowa as the aunt and famed Hong
Kong actor Chow Yun-fat as her lover - both in dramatically different roles from
those that made them famous. No dragon-lady, overpowering queen mother. No
imperial figure or martial arts hero.
The film and the acting have received generally favorable reviews. Siqin
speaks in imperfect but acceptable Shanghainese. Chow speaks Mandarin, not
Shanghainese. Wearing costumes, they sing Peking Opera together. Chow's songs
Siqin, known for roles as powerful, dominant older women, now plays an
ordinary woman (no name given) who lives alone in rather shabby circumstances
and cares for her difficult, net-surfing nephew over the summer.
Chow, famed for playing major figures in historical dramas and action films,
plays Pan Zhichang, a retired unemployed man, another Peking Opera fan -
charming but scheming.
"The character I play is not simply a swindler," he says. "He has different
facets to his character, a soft and romantic side as well."