Friday, March 13, 2009

[DVD] Gone Shopping (2007)

Tis The Season

Better late than never! It was last August that I got the DVD for Gone Shopping, and in 2007 that the film was screened theatrically in Singapore. It was a different cut, and the film had gone through a revision, with the Director's Cut travelling to festivals and competing overseas, and also the version that's presented in this DVD. I had highly recommended this film in my original review, and having to watch it on the big screen and host a Talkback session at Sinema Old School late last year, as well as watching it again now on DVD, I still highly recommend this film for its really fine storytelling, and compelling characters.

Coincidentally, Gone Shopping is also theatrically released in Malaysia currently, and it's the first theatrical release outside Singapore. So for all you readers who are in KL, you can head to 3 exclusive GSC cinema venues that are now screening the film, at Mid Valley KL, 1 Utama (New Wing) and Pavilion KL. You can read my review of the movie here, and there's not too much difference from that version then, and the director's cut now, save for some new scenes, and a major change to one of the security guard characters' true motivation. I had enjoyed the version tremendously then, and rewatching this cut twice, I still feel that both have their respective merits.

I still feel that Gone Shopping remains one of the gems amongst local films, and it's a wonder that this is writer-director Wee Li Lin's first feature film (after a series of award winning shorts), but this film has a very assured and mature direction as if being done by a seasoned veteran. Watch out for that buggy scene and one involving 3 gossipy salesgirls, they are crowd favourites, and would likely be your favourites too!

The Region Free DVD by Innoform Media comes presented in pristine anamorphic widescreen format! Despite its rather tacky looking and cluttered cover art, it is presented as is to be experienced (and being shot in HD helps I suppose), and not in the compromised 4x3 letterbox format that plagues a lot of DVDs for local films. Audio is in Dolby Digital Stereo in its original language track of Mandarin, English and Tamil, and subtitles are available in English and Mandarin. An 8 chapter scene selection is available as well to zoom into sections of the story.

Special Features wise, given it's a DVD-5, comes limited unfortunately. If this DVD was made overseas, I can see a two-disc edition already, with one disc the original theatrical release, and the other disc containing the director's cut. But no matter. The first section of features contain Teasers and Trailers which are all presented in letterbox format and with subtitles. Teaser 1 (0:40) features Clara, Teaser 2 (0:40) is that Aaron in the carpark scene in tribute to Highlander and Teaser 3 (1:00) is that kiss outside Tanglin Mall. There are three trailers included which spotlights each of the main characters, Clara (1:10), Aaron (1:00) and Renu (1:08).

There are only 3 Deleted Scenes included and presented in letterbox format. However, no commentary was available to understand why these scenes were omitted. They also come without subtitles, so non Mandarin and Tamil speakers, you can only guess what the characters could be talking about. Running a total of 4:43, the first scene is set in the flower department of Mustafa, where Clara and Renu are in conversation, the second in Mandarin involving Aaron bumping into his mother at a food centre, and the third is in Tamil where Renu talks to the security supervisor at Mustafa. A Photo Gallery containing 22 photo features both a behind the scenes look at the production, as well as some movie stills and cast and crew group photographs.

But the highlight of the features is the availability of the Director and Kym Ng's Commentary. It's predominantly in English unless Kym decides to use Mandarin to better express herself, or some local terms got made mentioned without explanation. This shouldn't detract you from the main meat, where both director Li Lin and Kym recounted their experience when making the film, sharing some interesting trivia and nuggets of behind the scenes information to the listener. You'll get to know the exact venues where the shots took place, as well as how each mall served as a convenient place to shop for both cast and crew alike during each day of filming! Despite some moments of silence from time to time, don't let this commentary pass you by, as you hear about which lines in the film had to be muted (!) and just how Li Lin got some of her cast, supporting cast and cameos assembled too! If you have gotten your hands on the DVD, listening to this track is a requisite after watching the movie proper.

In case you missed the earlier link on my review of the film, you can proceed to it by clicking on this link and here's the event coverage for the DVD Launch.

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