Meditation Park

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Meditation Park
Meditation Park.png
Film poster
Directed byMina Shum
Produced byMina Shum, Stephen Hegyes, Raymond Massey
Written byMina Shum
StarringCheng Pei-pei, Sandra Oh
Music byAndrew Lockington
Craig Berkey
Edited byDaria Ellerman
Release date
  • 8 September 2017 (2017-09-08) (TIFF)
  • 9 March 2018 (2018-03-09) (Canada)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish

Meditation Park is a 2017 Canadian drama film directed by Mina Shum. The film opened the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival [1] and was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival [2]. Following in the footsteps of her previous work like Double Happiness (film), Meditation Park highlights director Shum's Chinese ancestry[3]. Notably, the film highlights stars Sandra Oh and Don McKellar. Moving well beyond the heterosexual-norms, Shum's Meditation Park reveals important difficulties around immigration and minorities. It debuted to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened in selected theatres on 9 March 2018.[4]

Plot[edit]

Maria (Cheng Pei Pei) is a 60-year-old grandmother who immigrated from Hong Kong to Vancouver 39 years ago with her husband, Bing, in order to create a better life for their children. Maria seeks to rebuild her independence when she discovers an orange thong in her husband's pants pocket.[5]

Maria decides to follow her husband in a cab around the city, inspired by an episode of Dragnet and confirms her husband's infidelity. She keeps this new information secret, creates a resume and attempts to find a job. While handing out resumes, Maria is offered temporary work as a receptionist by a family friend, where she quickly realizes her professional skills are outdated. Instead, she befriends three local Cantonese women: May, Anita and Su. She joins the elderly women in selling illegal backyard parking where she formally meets Gabriel, another friendly neighbor. As strong bonds are made between these new friends, they rely on one another for emotional support during difficult times.

With additional help and support from daughter Ava, Maria is further encouraged to find her independence. Maria tackles on bike riding and outruns a by-law officer during a backyard parking mishap. Meanwhile, her husband plans a trip to Tokyo with his new girlfriend. Driven by her curiosity, Maria decides to follow her husband's mistress to a local park where she was seen sitting on a bench. As Maria pretends to search for garbage, she observes the other woman. Once Maria returns home thinking she has gone unseen, a young lady presents herself on her doorstep with important information regarding her son, Charlie.[6] The woman, Dylan, reveals that she is Charlie's fiancee and has brought flowers for Maria. Maria admits that she wishes to go to Charlie's wedding, but cannot because Bing had disowned Charlie and forbidden Maria from contacting him.

Maria returns multiple times to the park bench, in order to scrutinize Bing's girlfriend. However, she is soon aggressively confronted by the mistress, who recognizes her. When Maria returns home, she finds her husband is depressed and melancholy, seemingly because his relationship with his girlfriend had ended. He soon loses motivation in life, choosing to stay home all day and smoke. Maria tries numerous tactics in order to help her husband, even begging his girlfriend to "take him back". Instead, she refuses and apologizes to Maria.

Maria pushes Bing to go to the community centre, where they are approached by Gabriel, looking for petition signatures in order to throw a block party. Bing takes an instant disliking to Gabriel, banning Maria from contacting him.[7] It is later revealed that Gabriel's wife is suffering from an unknown ailment, which she eventually succumbs to.[8] When Maria hugs Gabriel to comfort him, an enraged Bing interrupts them. During a tense family dinner, Maria announces she is going to Charlie's wedding, refusing to back down when Bing belligerently tries to forbid her. An exasperated Ava defends Maria's decision as she reveals the rest of the family will also be attending Charlie's wedding and Bing is also invited. Frustrated by her father's selfishness and bullying behavior, she challenges him to disown her as well and abruptly leaves with her husband and children when Bing cannot.

Some time after, Maria packs a suitcase to go to Charlie's wedding. Bing desperately tries to stop her by apologizing for the affair and telling her that he needs her, but Maria stands up to him and tells him that she will no longer revolve her life around him. On the way to the wedding venue, she passes May, Anita, Su, and Gabriel, rekindling her friendships with them. Maria is seen walking down a terminal, getting on a ferry, and turning her face up to the bright sky, signaling that she is finally free.

Cast[edit]

Funding[edit]

In addition to receiving funding from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Telefilm Canada, Meditation Park is also supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund. [5] It is also noted in the credits of the film, that the production would not have been possible without support and membership of the Union of B.C Performers. [9]

Release[edit]

Critical response[edit]

  • Meditation Park was also reviewed by The Gateway (student magazine) who criticized the comedic efforts of the film but said it was emotionally satisfying and introduced interesting perspectives of Chinese women in Traditional Chinese families. [12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Go See This: Meditation Park". Vancouver Magazine. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Toronto Film Festival's Canadian Content to Include New Margaret Atwood Adaptation". The Wrap. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  3. ^ Melnyk, G. (2014). Film and the city: The urban imaginary in Canadian cinema. Edmonton: AU Press.
  4. ^ "Cineplex.com - Cineplex News - Sandra Oh, Cheng Pei Pei and Don McKellar star in the EXCLUSIVE new trailer for Meditation Park". www.cineplex.com. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Breaking Barriers Film Funds: Meditation Park". Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  6. ^ Shum, M., Hegyes, S., & Massey, R. (Producers), & Shum, M. (Director). (2017). Meditation Park [Motion Picture]. Canada: Mongrel Media
  7. ^ Review: Meditation Park Is a Complex Portrait Of the Lives Of Immigrants
  8. ^ Meditation Park https://www.calgaryfilm.com/films/2017/meditation-park
  9. ^ Shun, M. (March 2018). Meditation Park [Motion Picture]. Canada: Mongrel Media.
  10. ^ "Meditation Park (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  11. ^ Cooper, Julia. "Review: Meditation Park is a complex portrait of the lives of immigrants". The Globe And Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  12. ^ Villeneuve, N. "The Gateway: The University of Alberta's Student Journalism Society. Film Review: Meditation Park". Retrieved 5 April 2018.

External links[edit]