Thursday, 23 August 2012

33 Postcards

I had intended to finish my Olympic Games 2012 experience with a golden moments review but as the days goes by with a visit to family and to cricket at Nottingham, followed by what should be a fourth successive win in the County Championship I have decided to begin a catch up between now 17.45 August 22nd and September 7th when I return to London for a brief visit to watch a morning swimming event at the Paralympic games

I begin with some films and then some other sport and TV and the hopefully the Golden moments. 33 Postcards was an unexpected and unplanned film viewing joy as the first Australia-China co production directed by Pauline Chan. A Chinese girl in an orphanage has her education sponsored by an Australian who sends her the post cards over a ten year period. When the orphanage is invited to visit Australia and perform with its choir. The girl, now a naive sixteen year old helps train the choir as a conductor, goes on the trip and takes the opportunity to try and locate her sponsor to express her thanks.

She finds that the sponsor is an inmate of a correctional facility have killed a man who was in a building which he set fire with his brother for the insurance on behalf of a local criminal enterprise. With limited English the girl quickly finds herself involved with the gang through the son of a garage owner who she meets collecting loan shark money for the one of the criminal fraternity who is also an inmate in the same institution as her sponsor.

This lad is basically decent despite involvement in aspects of the criminal life of his father, helping to transform stolen cars into new identities as well as the loan sharking collections. He wants a different life going to college to learn to become a cook and first helps the girl to visit the sponsor in prison and then to remain in Australia while she attempts to find a way to help the man who she regards as a father figure as his parole is due. The sponsor at first rejects the girl never imagining that she would find a way to visit Australia and then he finds that she is a way of helping him to come to terms with the crime he committed and assuage the overwhelming sense of guilt. He is helped by the prison counsellor who is impressed that for a decade he had used funds to sponsor the girl and is prepared to arrange for him to help her stay in Australia through placement with foster parents. The authorities want him to provide evidence the crime boss within prison who arranges to beat up and if necessary kill anyway who threatens or fails to provide the money which he requires.

The girl decides to stay in Australian after arrangements are made for her to return to China prematurely because of her attempt to contact her sponsor. She crashes on the sofa of the son of the garage owner and helps to get the stolen cars ready for onward sale without knowing they are stolen. The brother of the sponsor is indebted because he was also a party to the original building burning but was not revealed by the brother who also kept quite about those who had paid him to undertake the crime. The brother is forced to undertake a car theft to help fund his brothers plan to help the girl and the son of the garage owner volunteers to also participate as the way of getting his father to agree to pay for him to go to college. The father also involved the girl as a means of trying to keep control of his son.

The sponsor is given parole and in a panic agrees to give evidence against the prison gang boss in order to obtain immediate release when he hears the girl has become unwittingly involved with the crime gang outside. In the event he and all the parties are arrested and he finds himself back in prison without the promised protection and is stabbed within an inch of his life. He survives and the parole is reinstated when the truth of the situation emerges. The girl decides to return to China and work for the orphanage but having established a more meaningful relationship with the man she regards as her father and she as his daughter. He is able to watch her conduct the choir before returning home with the promise to visit her in China. The film has the accustomed Australian reality edginess with a positive slant on contemporary China which will enable the showing of the film in the mainland. It engaged in part because of its unique subject and strength of the acting.

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