Congratulations, Gouw Ian Iskandar and to the filmmakers of After This Our Exile!
Malaysian-born pint sized actor, 10-year-old Gouw Ian Iskandar (Chinese Indonesian name), added two more awards to his name when he won Best Supporting Actor and Best New Performer at the recently concluded Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong. He had won the Golden Horse award for Best Supporting Actor a month ago at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Awards, becoming the youngest ever actor to win a Golden Horse at the age of 9.
The young lad won for his stirring and affecting performance in the Patrick Tam arthouse film called After This Our Exile (Fu Zi in Chinese) alongside Hong Kong stalwarts Aaron Kwok and Charlie Yeung. From the reviews I’ve read on the film, I’m earnestly dying to watch this film as I had missed the film when it had its short run in the cinemas early this year. I hope to be able to find this film on DVD as it would certainly be a shame if the film is not released on DVD, since it has won multiple awards including Best Film and Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards as well in addition to Gouw’s awards. Kwok surprisingly lost out to Lau Ching Wan, though, in the Best Actor category.
For those out of the loop about this film, After This Our Exile is set in Malaysia and revolves around the lives of a poor family – Kwok plays the doting father who is struggling to overcome his devastating gambling habit which threatens to tear his family apart, Yeung plays his long-suffering wife who is finally fed up with her husband’s habit and Gouw plays the smart young son who looks up to his father despite his faults. The film may not be the run-of-the-mill affair as it is quite slow moving and bleak so, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea except for the hardcore Asian film buff like myself.🙂
Also, this film reminds me of an old classic Chow Yun Fatt film that I simply adored that explored similar themes as After This Our Exile. That film is called All About Ah Long, made in the 80’s which has Chow playing a deadbeat father to a doting son who ran into his former girlfriend, the mother of his son (wonderfully played by Sylvia Chang) one day and hopes to rekindle the flame. The plot is different by obviously the father-son relationship theme as well as the father-mother-son relationship theme is quite apparent in both Chow’s film and After This Our Exile.
I’ve not watched the latter yet, so I won’t go any further but the film is seriously worth watching, not only for the performances of the talented cast but also for the stark portrayal of poverty among the Chinese community in Malaysia. I’m from Malaysia, so, the film really hits close to home in more ways than one for me. Those who know my personal history will certainly attest to this.
Final word – by hook or by crook, I don’t know how but no matter what, you must watch this film! This film has to be the best 2006 Asian film ever, so don’t miss it!