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*Updated (Not) Under the Banyan Tree


Sat Sep 27 2014, 8:00pm–10:00pm

Where: Gallery Theatre, National Musem, 93 Stamford Road, Museum, Singapore

Restrictions: R16

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: keith

National Museum of Singapore
Gallery Theatre, Basement
Free admission

*Note: Please note that due to the latest advised film rating – NC16, the screening of September’s film He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father /新难兄难弟 will be held indoors instead of outdoors as part of the Under the Banyan Tree: Open Air Cinema series. Admission to the theatre is on a first-come-first serve basis with a limited seating capacity of 247 seats. No food and beverages are to be consumed inside the theatre. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.*

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father / 新难兄难弟
Director: Peter Chan & Lee Chi-Ngai
1993 / Hong Kong / 35 mm / 100 min / Rating TBC
In Cantonese with English and Mandarin subtitles

Taking its name from a pun of the song by English rock group, The Hollies, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father is a charming time-travel rom-com made during what can be considered the tail-end of a vibrant period of filmmaking in Hong Kong in the early 90s. Unabashedly nostalgic, Peter Chan’s celebrated film fondly looks back at Cantonese cinema heritage, pays tribute to the ideals of the post-war generation, and homage to My Intimate Partners (1960), the classic film released by Kong Ngee Film Company, a film studio started by two Singaporean brothers that went on to become a trailblazer in the Cantonese film industry.

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai stars as Yuen, a real-estate agent who is perpetually at odds with his father, Feng (played by the older Tony Leung Ka-Fai). Affected by the fast pace of economic development and a strong sense of individualism intrinsic to his generation, a self-absorbed Yuen emotionally detaches himself from his father, whom he feels has failed in life because of his overly altruistic nature. After an unfortunate incident, Yuen is transported back in time to a bustling housing community in the 60s, when his father was a young working-class man courting his mother (played by Carina Lau), who is ready to reject her inheritance from her disapproving wealthy family. Struck by the different pace of life during his parents’ times, Yuen soon attempts to change the course of history by influencing his father to become more industrious and pleasing to his in-laws. Through this encounter, he comes to appreciate the spirit of the older generation and begins to see his father in a new light.

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father presents an honest look into the past with the perfect mix of comedy, drama, and fun musical segments. It does not dwell on the past, nor assert the ideals and morals of a bygone era, but urges the present generation to take an imaginative leap into the lives of our forefathers. In the face of change and uncertainty (the film echoes the advent of Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997), this film celebrates a communal bond between generations and an empathetic understanding of one’s legacy.