Friday was a treat. Bee was off and we spent the afternoon having lunch at our favourite Jap restaurant at Cuppage Centre, followed by some shopping (G2000 was having 70% off!) where I splurged on some CNY clothes (better buy early) and a pair of sandals (Everbest @ 20% off). After that, we watched Ocean Heaven 海洋天堂, starring Jet Li.
This is the first movie where we don’t see Jet Li fighting. Instead, he stars as a termially ill middle-aged father of a 21 year-old son with autism. The movie starts with them in a boat, tied to a weight. As they jump, you wish the movie is not a flash back. It’s not. For a man suffering from quite sever autism, Dafu somehow manages to produce a pair of scissors, cuts the string and saves them. Wang must now try even harder to find a new home for Dafu. As in most countries, even the developed ones, it is difficult. Dafu is too old for special schools or orphanges. The only government institution which will admit him is the mental hospital. Luckily, Dafu’e ex-school principal manages to locate a NGO-run hostel for him. Wang works in an ocean theme park which lets Dafu swim there. He trains Dafu to undress for beds, take public bus, cook and even finds him a cleaning job at the park before he dies. The most touching part is when he tells Dafu that he is turning into a turtle, and for Dafu to look for the turtle when he can’t find his father. He wears a self-made turtle shell to convince his son.
The love Wang has for his son is shown by his patience as he repeats the same instructions again and again, how he sews addresses onto Dafu’s shirts in case Dafu is lost. Everyone in the ocean park is touched and shows the pair their greatest sympathy and understanding. The woman working in the hostel tells Wang, my greatest honour is meeting this father that is you.
Comparing this movie to Aftershock, I found this a more touching movie. Although both movies are about parental loves, the crisp editing and steady pace keep this movie from getting draggy. Credits must also go to the actors. I’m sure some awards are awaiting them in the near future.