Cross-cultural letdown

Chris Lau
Chris Lau |

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Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) is an orphan from China. Since her childhood, she has received sponsorship from Dean Randall (Guy Pearce), a zoo ranger from Australia.

Randall regularly sends Mei postcards telling her about his family and country. On the other side of the globe, Mei studies hard to learn English so she can read the postcards, hoping that one day she'll meet him and be able to talk to him and his family.

The chance finally comes when Mei's orphanage choir flies Down Under to perform. Mei sneaks out of the hostel and jumps on a random bus to find Randall. She has no idea that that her world is about to be turned upside-down.

33 Postcards is a coproduction between China and Australia. Director Pauline Chan, who was born and raised in Vietnam, educated in Hong Kong, and finally moved to Sydney, seems an ideal person to bridge this cultural gap.

But Chan chose to abuse stereotypes. Instead of gradually revealing cultural diversity, she uses overwhelmingly awkward cues to remind viewers of the differences: Chinese people all wear red jackets; Australians are all zoo rangers with family issues.

The movie ends up being a mash-up of cheesy patriotism. There are some inexplicable scenes of random Australian beaches for no particular reason.

The final "my country needs me" moment is just another nail in the coffin.

YP Rating: 1/5