Sunday, July 10, 2011

[DVD] When Hainan Meets Teochew (当海南遇上潮州) (2010)

While it took quite some time for Han Yew Kuang and Lau Chee Nien's 18 Grams of Love to be made available on DVD, the wait isn't too long for their third feature film When Hainan Meets Teochew produced under their 18g Pictures banner, an independent "un"-romantic comedy film that bears all the hallmarks of a typical Han Yew Kwang written and directed film, so you know you're in for quite a treat.

You can read my earlier review of the film here, and if this is testament of the re-watchability of the film, I have done so for another 3 times (for this DVD review) and still I chuckle at all the funny, quirky bits, now being more aware for all the nuggets of information behind the scenes (that you'll get to hear from the audio commentaries) which added more fun with each subsequent viewing.

Audaciously packaged in a striking flamboyant pink theme, the Region 3 (I've popped it into my Region 1 only player and it still plays, just so you know my overseas friends) NTSC DVD presents the film and all the special features in a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen format transfer. Scene selection is available over 12 chapters, with subtitles in English and Mandarin - and yes even the extras are subtitled so you won't miss a thing if you don't speak either language.

As already mentioned, loads of Special Features got jammed into this one-disc edition of the film, where in the local film context it's still relatively rare since most get their DVD released in either a barebones version, or with scant extras such as photo galleries and trailers. Granted though these are requisites in a certain way, so yes we still get the Trailer (1:!9) and the Teasers - all three of them which consists of the scene where three characters are seen decked in bathtowels (0:34), Teochew's popular "Shit" monologue (0:49) and the dialogue between the titular characters about how romantic comedies tend to be perfect in every aspect (0:34).

The extras also include the Music Video (3:19) 当我离去 by 阿洒 which serves as the love theme of the film, as well as a Promo Video (4:54) which was taken after its screening for members of the film community on November 23 last year with comments from audience members as well as the director and his leading cast.

What's more, Han Yew Kwang does a Director's Introduction to the film both in English (0:40) and Mandarin (0:34) and this bilingual feature style continues in the educational (heh) segments on How to Curse in Hainan(ese), with Hainan Boy Lee Chau Min imparting pearls of wisdom in the Hainan language both in English (0:34) and Mandarin (0:45) instructions, which are closely interchangeable since both features come with both English and Mandarin subtitles.

And to wrap things up, Two Full Length Audio Commentaries are included, with the one in Mandarin featuring writer-director Han Yew Kwang, producer Lau Chee Nien, and cast members Lee Chau Min and Tan Hong Chye engaged in rich banter that shared plenty of insights into the making of the film, with nuggets of information on the production process, right down to the shenanigans that happened on set. The English one however would just be between the producer and the director, but by no means is this version less fun nor informative since the two have collaborated with each other for such a long time, that their camaraderie rubs onto their commentary as well, and if anything, offers a sneak peek into their thought and creative process, explaining pretty much everything in extremely frank terms, including what they had intended but didn't manage to pul off, or scenes which they thought could have been improved. These two are definitely not resting on their laurels!

It's obvious much care had gone behind the production of a proper DVD release when you put this side by side with the releases of other local films, so don't let that effort go to waste. I had mentioned before that this quirky comedy provokes thought and is essentially a celebration of the spirit of independent filmmaking in Singapore, so do get entertained by a thoroughly good film and support the growing local filmmaking community by picking up something that's all homegrown and solidly packaged.

The DVD is already out in shops and you can check out the launch event here, but if you want to attend the second launch event, you can do so at Books Actually (9 Yong Siak Street) on 15 July Friday, 7:30pm! You can also order it online through its distributor.

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