100 Days (★★★)



Produced by Stacy Fan (Wen-Si) and Weiko Lin (Wei-Ke), ‘100 Days‘ (TUC) was written by Megi Hsu, in collaboration with Weiko Lin, and directed by the Emmy-winning Henry Chan. This film features Johnny Lu (Sze-Ming) as Bo Dan and Tracy Chou (Cai-Shi) as XiaoWei. The rest of the cast, though small, are filled with big characters, typical Chinese people stuck in a time warp that made the film all the more entertaining to watch. From The Unison Company comes the cross-cultural Chinese film ‘100 Days‘, featuring Taiwanese television actors. This film is about the clashing of traditional Chinese culture in a modernized corporate Asian lifestyle. Using the excuse of work, Bo Dan goes home to the village he grew up in to bury his mother. While there, he refuses to be locked into traditional superstitions which his ex-sweetheart and other members of the family are burdened with. The journey that unfolds then is more about his sweetheart, XiaoWei, and overcoming the desires of others so as to chase your own dreams.

Personally, as an Asian American who is tired of the antics of overly dramatic films Asians are known for, I truly enjoyed this movie. Don’t get me wrong, this is still an Asian film. It’s just a bit more Americanized in storytelling, and not so gag worthy. There were still quite a few parts, characteristics, and times where I had to cringe, but not as many as films that were made from Asia do. As far as comparisons go, this film is definitely the ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days‘ (2003) of the fusion film world.

Shot on the Red cameras, the image is clean, romantic, and very well thought out to bring a heavy contrast of the glum business world to the beauty of the wild nature. The style, it seemed, started with the Asian style of filmmaking before a more Americanized structure was placed over it to rein in some of the humor and drama. Being known for the over-the-top drama in Asian films, this film was very Americanized in the storytelling, story structure, and the elements that were worked into the lives of the main characters. I suppose it’s safe to say the story is quite American, but everything else is Asian.

100-Days-2013-3The acting was pretty Western. Johnny Lu (Lu Sze-Ming) was consistent and changed as many male protagonists in American films do. Always the one making waves and a mess to be cleaned up, Lu brings Bo Dan from cold and calculating to the honest and compromising corporate manager. Tracy Chou (Chou Cai-Shi) is sweet in the beginning, cute when being deliberately rebellious and challenging, and white a sweetheart who desperately hopes to chase her dreams in the end of the film. Her acting wasn’t great and she’s no Kate Hudson by a long shot, but her role was supported heavily by Julianne Chu (Chu Lui-On) and Soda Voyu (So Da). But much like the supporting actors and actresses in American films, there are happy endings for them as well as everyone else in the film without massive deaths, crying, and plagues.

This film is quite important because of the American essence and presence in the film. The first of many fusions, this film was created and written by Americans to incorporate Chinese traditions and values that are heavily rested in the Asian world. The secular and corrupt tendencies of Western stories are present, but shown through a cultivated conservative Asian way. Through long dialogues filled with exposition and exaggerated acting, the line between Western and Eastern filmmaking is blurred with this film. Perhaps, the main reason I enjoyed it so much was because of the elements at play and the Western story within the Eastern culture. Whether it is a date night or a family night, this film is clean and easy to understand with positive values of family and friendship over the cluttered lifestyle of our modern-day.