New Chinese romantic comedy offers hope to 'leftover women'

"You need to be just as brave and feisty in your love life as your career life," suggested Jin, whose film arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 5:58pm

For “leftover” single women in their 30s still looking for Mr Right, Chinese actress-writer-director Eva Jin said her new romantic comedy One Night Surprise sends out a positive message of love.

“You need  to be just as brave and feisty in your love life as your career life,” suggested Jin, whose film arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Eva Jin was sitting across me in a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, accompanied by her good-looking American husband who speaks flawless Putonghua. Contrary to my earlier expectations of an award-winning high-flyer who socialises with stars like Fan Bingbing, Jin was down-to-earth and likable.

In fact , Jin said “down-to-earth” and “likable” are indeed the qualities of her lead character, “Michelle,” (Fan Bingbing) a 32-year-old Beijing highly-strung career woman on a mission to find love.

“This is a story of real people in a real China,” Jin said, “and I tell the story with my own style.”

Video:  One Night Surprise arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday. Fan Di

The sexy and funny comedy centres on Michelle’s quest as she wakes up dishevelled in bed the morning after her wild 32th birthday party. She soon discovers she is pregnant.

When Michelle sets about finding the “culprit” who impregnated her, she also embarks a journey to discover herself, as her relationship with co-worker Tony (Aarif Rahman), a devoted and caring Peking University graduate seven years her junior, develops and blossoms, with some hilarious twists and turns.

“Leftover women are only left over because they won’t marry for money,” Jin said, “What Michelle wants is love and ultimately to live her own life.”

Unfortunately, this also means a harder life for women with dynamic careers who live in a culture which considers them a failure until they marry a decent husband, Jin said.

In fact, Jin had found herself panicking under the same stress when she returned to China in her early 30s after studying in the United States. Luckily for her, she didn't give up. 

”Even though there’s no relationship that’s 100 per cent ready for you,” she said. “Be brave, be realistic-  and fight for it.

The experience overseas taught Jin not only craftsmanship, but also the vision and skill to tell stories in an “international language".

“I‘ve made the movie for a global audience and I don’t discriminate against any of them,” said Jin, “From character development to storytelling to the choice of colour, I've made sure it's a movie that everyone can relate to.”  

Jin, who studied Italian opera at the China Conservatory of Music before enrolling in film school at Florida State University in 2001, debuted with her 2009 rom-com Sophie's Revenge, starred by Zhang Ziyi.

One Night Surprise has already grossed more than 170 million yuan on the mainland since it opened in August. Judging from the laughter and enthusiastic cheers it received on its premiere showing in Hong Kong on Thursday night,  it seems to be off to a good start.  

Asked how she would tell Hong Kongers about her film in one sentence, Jin said, “This will be the most atypical Chinese movie you’ve ever seen.”

Read more SCMP China Insider stories written by Amy Li or follow her on Twitter