Window Horses is an interesting looking animated film that was just released in Montreal theaters (Cineplex Forum, Cinema Beaubien, Cinematheque Quebecoise) on March 17, 2017. It is written & directed by Ann Marie Fleming (Asian Canadian director) and the main character, Rosie Ming, is voiced by Sandra Oh (Korean Canadian actress). Gloria and Stephen are Rosie’s grandparents and are voiced by Nancy Kwan and Eddy Ko (Chinese Canadian actor).
This is a review of Kim’s Convenience the theater play (very minor spoilers) but will also briefly mention some elements of the TV show for comparison, which I saw first. The play opened this past Wednesday and continues its engagement until March 19 in Montreal at the Segal Centre. It’s produced by Soulpepper, created & written by Ins Choi and directed by Weyni Mengesha with set & costume design by Ken Mackenzie.
Also as an aside, the theater play will make its US debut this July in New York!
The play starts off with Mr. Kim aka Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) walking into the store. If you’ve seen the TV show, he’s the familiar genial Appa with his jokes and accent but I would say there’s a bit more to him in the play, which is not restricted by TV rules. Much of the first act is comedy as he and his daughter Janet (Rosie Simon) clash and argue over various topics. There is early mention of a Walmart arriving soon and an offer to buy the convenience store from a customer. This is more background info as the main theme of the play is intergenerational conflict between parents and their adult children. Mrs. Kim aka Umma (Jean Yoon) appears from time to time often humming a tune. The fourth member of the family, Jung (Richard Lee), is however not around the store at all, having left the store/home many years previously due to a past incident.
One of the first arguments begins when Appa asks Janet to call 911 about an illegally parked Honda because it’s a Japanese car and he holds a grudge against Japan due to its past history of occupation of Korea. Later on when a customer with a Carribean accent comes into the store there’s an amusing confusion of different accents which leads into some race issues. Appa tries to “educate” Janet on which combinations of race, gender, sexuality will mean a customer is likely to steal. Some of these jokes will be familiar to TV show watchers but there are some differences. In fact, I find they work better in the play because unlike the TV show which tries to stretch some of these jokes into themes for an entire episode, they’re maybe one or two liners in the play.
Kim’s Convenience is a play created by Ins Choi and produced by Soul Pepper Theater Company. It was recently adapted into a hit TV show on CBC with its first season having completed this past autumn. The play will be making its Quebec debut at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal with performances from March 8-19, 2017. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon who were also in the TV show reprise their original theater play roles. The play has gotten rave reviews and is one not to miss! I’m looking forward to it. This is part of the festival Montréal en Lumière.
VesperArcade is a youtube channel hosted by Vesper, an Asian Canadian. He covers various fighting games. I’ve been watching mostly his Street Fighter V videos since I find his commentary interesting. As someone who played Street Fighter II: Special Champion’s Ed on the Genesis, I have been watching competitive Street Fighter matches recently and been enjoying them.
For those who don’t understand French, I’ve provided a translation of it in English below (not line by line but more of a summary).
There are many ways to help ease the isolation felt by senior citizens. Christine Law chose to give them flowers, obtained from marriages and corporate events, which she rearranges into nice bouquets. This is essentially the mission of Floranthropie.
The idea came to Christine from having lived with her grandparents until high school. Her parents who were immigrants who didn’t speak English or French and had 4 girls (Christine is the youngest) and it was hard for them. Unfortunately, her grandmother had an accident and passed away. In the last years of her grandfather’s life, she sensed the solitude in his life. At every supper, he would teach her a Chinese proverb. There was one that he repeated often and the general meaning of it was that it is important to respect parents to have a long life.
I haven’t been timely with my episode reviews but I often post short thoughts on twitter on the same day as the episode. Here are my extended thoughts.
A very good improvement over previous episodes. Since this review was actually written after seeing episode 8, I can say this is the funniest episode thus far plus I learned something about another culture! Granted it wasn’t the type of thing I expect to learn about on a TV show. That thing is ddong chim, which translates roughly to poop needle. It’s also described as a Korean wedgie where one person pokes another person in their anus with their pointed fingers. Yeah it sounds gross but apparently it’s a popular prank to do among Korean kids and some other Asian cultures. When recently promoted assistant manager Jung does a ddong chim to his buddy Kimchee at work, it leads to some uncomfortable questions from his boss Shannon. Easily the most awkward and funny exchange between the two.
There’s also a subplot with Appa and Janet’s friend, Gerald. Appa asks Gerald to take his photo instead of Janet, who is quite bothered by this. We get to see the “don’t touch wall” of photos and some funny exchanges between Appa and Umma. The resolution ends with a great line from Janet in response to Gerald in front of the “don’t touch wall.”
This is probably the first episode that focuses more on Jung and Kimchee who tend to be separated from the rest of the Kim family in most episodes. It’s nice to see them more and Kimchee is somewhat less annoying. In fact, I hope Kimchee gets his revenge in a future episode. Now for episode 4…
This is a Quebec made documentary about the Vietnamese boat people. The film directors Thi Be Nguyen and Marie-Hélène Panisset along with different guests will be at the screenings at Cinema du Parc. It will play with English or French subtitles depending on the screening.
The Montreal International Documentary Festival / Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM) will be running from November 10-20, 2016. Here are some of the East Asian & Asian American documentaries.
Gatekeeper by Yung Chang (Canada, Japan)
95 and 6 to go by Kimi Takesue (USA)