Double Happiness (film)

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Double Happiness
Double happiness ver1.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Mina Shum
Produced by Stephen Hegyes
Rose Lam Waddell
Written by Mina Shum
Starring Sandra Oh
Callum Keith Rennie
Music by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
Mina Shum
Harley McCanley
Cinematography Peter Wunstorf
Edited by Alison Grace
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates Canada September 7, 1994 (Toronto Film Festival)
United States July 28, 1995
Germany April 10, 1997
Running time 87 min.
Country Canada
Language English/Cantonese

Double Happiness (French: Bonheur aigre-doux) is a 1994 film by Canadian director Mina Shum, co-produced by First Generations Films and the National Film Board of Canada.[1]

The film stars Sandra Oh as Jade Li, an artist struggling to assert her independence from the expectations of her Chinese Canadian family. Callum Keith Rennie also stars as Mark, Jade's love interest.

Oh won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for this film.

Plot[edit]

Jade Li (Sandra Oh) is a feisty, 22 year old Chinese-Canadian aspiring actress who lives at home with her traditional Chinese family: her strict father (Stephen Chang), her dutiful mother (Alannah Ong), and her sweet younger sister, Pearl (Frances You). Their older brother, Winston, has been disowned—a fate Jade is not eager to share, both for her own sake and to spare her family pain.

Her family tries to put on the perfect public persona at all costs so as to maintain their dignity as well as uphold their traditional Chinese values. One primary part of this persona is prosperity. Jade's father hopes that true financial prosperity will become reality through penny stocks. Jade, meanwhile, tries to achieve that happy medium between giving in to her parent's wishes and fulfilling her own needs and desires - double happiness. Therefore, although she manages to land a few bit parts on camera, Jade spends most of her time working in the shop owned by a family friend, performing the duties of a respectful daughter and suffering through arranged dates with prosperous young Chinese men. An adept cultural chameleon, though, she also leads a double life, hanging out with best friend Lisa (Claudette Carracedo).

When her father's childhood friend arrives for a visit, however, Jade must juggle her competing identities even more carefully than usual, lest her choice of professions—and boyfriends—shame her father. Because of its instability, Jade's parents don't understand or widely publicize Jade's aspirations to be an actress. Their main want for Jade is to date and marry a nice Chinese boy, a goal for which Jade's extended family also strives as they are always trying to introduce her to Chinese boys. Initially, they believe that the boy is Andrew, with who Jade even agrees to go out. But Jade, beyond wanting to be an actress, wishes her family had more western sensibilities. She is attracted to a slightly awkward but persistent Caucasian English graduate student named Mark. Jade has to figure out how to both please her family, who would not approve of her dating a Caucasian, and be true to herself. Her older brother is already out of the picture for that very reason. Naturally, something's got to give sooner or later and the facade of the perfect Chinese daughter soon begins to slip.

Cast[edit]

  • Sandra Oh .... Jade Li
  • Stephen Chang .... Dad Li (Lead) (as Stephen M.D. Chang)
  • Alannah Ong .... Mom Li
  • Frances You .... Pearl Li
  • Johnny Mah .... Andrew Chau
  • Callum Keith Rennie ... Mark
  • Claudette Carracedo .... Lisa Chan
  • Greg Chen .... Uncle Bing
  • Mimi Mok .... Mrs. Mar
  • Lesley Ewen .... Carmen the Casting Director
  • Donald Fong .... Ah Hong
  • Nathan Fong .... Dr. Ming Chu/Bartender
  • Dennis Foon .... Director
  • Tosca Chin Wah Leong .... Linda Taylor Wong, Ch. 4 News
  • Estelle Coppens .... Lead Woman in Scene with Jade
  • Kevin Kelly .... Lead Man in Scene with Jade
  • Gene Kiniski .... Man at Bus Stop

References[edit]

External links[edit]