Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng


I finally bought a copy of this movie! Yippee!!!

Everyone knows I am a sucker for locally produced movies and this was no exception. I was in Sydney when I saw the trailer being shared on my Facebook news feed and from then on, I was crossing my fingers that I would still be able to purchase it when I get back to KL or someone would be kind enough to buy a copy and post it over. But fate had it that I would buy one myself, muahahahaha!

The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng (大舞狮关圣宫) is well, about the famous dragon and lion dance association, Kun Seng Keng from Muar, Johor. Formed in 1988, they are not only national champions but also 56-time world champions. A quick Google search and details about their association and movie reviews are aplenty, so I am going to only share the parts I really enjoyed in the movie.

Firstly, the people involved. I thought it was commendable effort by Director Matt Lai (赖健雄), despite a so-so script. Although at first I found casting Taiwanese Alan Ko (柯有伦) as one of the lead actors, I thought he pulled it off quite well, Malaysian accent and all (perhaps studying in Singapore has helped with that).

I also thought that teaming younger actors with veteran ones was really smart, as both the younger and older generations would be able to relate to members of the cast. For example, the younger generation (as in high school, college, young working adults) would be able to recognise Alan, Thomas Kok (郭晓东, one half of local Mando-pop duo, TJ 东于哲), Henley Hii (许亮宇, champion of Season 2, Project Superstar Malaysia), Jo (周周, newcomer in the entertainment industry, originally a songwriter) and Jenny's cousin, William Yap (叶子诚, child artiste and lead actor of another locally produced movie, Gemeilia).

The older generation, meaning our parents' (and maybe grandparents') generation would find the faces of Hong Kong-based actor, Chan Koon Tai (陈观泰) and Angela Chan (陈美娥, one of the star actresses in the now non-existent HVD) familiar. The names Michael Chin (陈逸豪) and Katrina Ho (何簣町) are new to me but after a quick search, they seem to have a local following, too.

Secondly, the acting and cinematography. I would like to specially mention how I was impressed by William's acting. I thought he delivered his role very well, with the non-exagerated outpouring of emotions. My favourite scene would be the scene he and his partner kowtowed thrice at his brother's funeral with the lion dance gear on. I definitely felt the anger, frustration, disappointment and 'I will succeed and make you proud of me' feelings - surprisingly, I had tears welled up in my eyes and had to quietly wipe them away in case my father noticed.

Another scene I really liked was the challenge in the rain. Although the music selection for this scene was a little erm, unsuitable, the way this scene was shot was breathtaking with the combination of colour usage, the rain and slow-mo action. When I watched videos of the making of the scene, I did not expect it to be UPM (again). UPM must earn heaps from local entertainment companies for the usage of their field and that one-tree-hill of theirs. That tree and the white fence are dead giveaways now when watching a music video, commercial or movie - oh, hey, that's UPM! Haha...

Since CNY is around the corner, I probably would watch it again with family. The younger nephews and nieces should watch it, as it does not just announce to the world how we have a world-class lion dance association but the spirit and pride involved in upholding our culture and tradition.

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