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29+1 (2016) (Blu-ray + Keyholder + Booklet) (Hong Kong Version)
Joyce Cheng (Actor) | Chrissie Chau (Actor) | Kearen Pang (Director, Writer) | Ben Yeung (Actor)
29+1 (2016) (Blu-ray + Keyholder + Booklet) (Hong Kong Version)
Embracing the big 3-0
September 29, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
"30" can be a stressful number to some women. It is often considered the deadline of some major life events like getting married. In 2005, stage producer and actor Kearen Pang also entered her thirties. Instead of worrying about whether she can get married on time, she treated "30" as an age to meet new challenges. That year, she left her theatre troupe and made her solo debut with the one-person show 29+1, which casts new light on life as well as the big 3-0.

In the original stage version, Kearen Pang played two 29-year-old Hong Kong women: successful marketing executive Christy and cheerful CD store worker Tin Lok. To offer a more vivid portrayal of the characters in the movie remake, the two protagonists are played by Chrissie Chau (Break Up 100) and Joyce Cheng (Special Female Force), respectively. Christy gets promoted before her 30-year-old birthday. However, she is overwhelmed by different pressures from work, her father's sickness and a stagnant relationship with her long-time boyfriend. To add insult to injury, the apartment she is living has been sold off by the landlord. Forced to move on short notice, Christy ends up living in the home of Tin Lok, who has set off to Paris to pursue her childhood dream. When Christy discovers Tin Lok's diary, she becomes inspired by Tin Lok's optimistic attitude towards life.

Age is the key issue in the film. Just like the mental discomfort felt when people see the price on a taxi meter going up, the fear of hitting 30 is fully expressed in the title 29+1. Pang offers a delicate depiction of this feeling with realistic scenes about Christy's anti-aging lifestyle, such as low-calorie diets and a lengthy make-up process, which are highly relevant for many young women. Christy always prepares for the future but fails to live in the moment. Different from Christy, Tin Lok enjoys every moment of her life and values her old memories which give her energy to carry on her life. Through their contrasting stories, the film guides audience to reconsider the meaning of life and learn to embrace the big 3-0.

To retain the film's stage drama roots, the movie version intentionally features some theatrical scenes such as a group of eerie girls covered with facial masks and the fantasy encounter between Christy and Tin Lok. Though it's already 12 years after the release of the original story, Pang doesn't change the story's timeline to please the current "29+1" audience. Having the same setting as the original, the film evokes a deep sense of nostalgia through many old-school elements such as Leslie Cheung's music programme Sunset in Paris, Beyond's "The Morning Train," traditional tea houses and vinyl records.

29+1 accurately captures the inner conflicts of modern women struggling in career, love and family. Though the story is written from the perspective of a woman turning 30, it strikes a chord among all people facing the same situation thanks to its emotionally resonant plot. By incorporating theatrical features in her movie, Pang offers new insight into filmmaking and proves herself one of the most promising directors in Hong Kong with her surprising directorial debut.






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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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