The Blue Mansion

The Blue Mansion is the second film by director Glen Goei after Forever Fever in 1998. The film, which made its name abroad before it was screened in Singapore, had its debut at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) and later, the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). Cast includes several theatre veterans such as Patrick Teoh (Voice of Malaysia), Louisa Chong, Kay Siu Lim (Phua Chu Kang), Adrian Pang and many others. And hence, the film has a strong theatrical influence - a conscious and deliberate choice by both writer Ken Kwek and director Glen Goei.

The audience follows the ghost of a wealthy Asian tycoon, Wee Bak Chuan, who was found dead in his study under suspicious circumstances. He tries to find out the truth behind his death by observing both his family and the police in a series of funerals - due to each child's different religious beliefs - and other events only to realise that he is less loved or respected than he thought so. He protests and comments throughout the story but alas, only the audience hears him. Delve deeper into the story, in the process of seeking his murderer, he uncovers the profound, deeply hidden secrets of his three children that he never knew 30 years as a father. Now that he is dead, the children are given a chance to be themselves for a change, a release from the paternalistic control their father held over them. Here, the film is a mystery murder and the same time, a piece that examines the question of the place patriarchy has in 21st century modern Asia.

Played by mostly veteran theatre actors, expect a strong, competent cast that engages the audience with colourful characters like second son Adrian Pang's emotionally and sexually frustrated husband, daughter Neo Swee Lin's despondent spinster act and eldest son Lim Kay Siu's pained husband role.  

A bonus to the already highly entertaining film, The Blue Mansion was shot at UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage site, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, in Penang, Malaysia. The beautiful distinctive indigo blue of the building adds on to the atmosphere of a murder mystery and the film noir mood that director Glen Goei aims to capture.

Freshgrads says it's definitely worth the ticket as a delightful, lively weekend entertainment and to support a local film. If not, wait for the DVD on which a steamy sex scene between Adrian Pang and Charmaine Ang will not be censored.

Related links: The Blue Mansion official site

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