Meditation Park (VIFF Review)

Named after a park in Vancouver. A small park, really. Filmed around a different park in Vancouver. A larger park, really. The story really takes place inside a Chinese family household where everything is pretty typical. Bing (Tzi Ma) is having his 65th birthday celebration, and he’s got almost all the family there to support him. Unexpectedly while he’s out at work one day, his wife Maria (Pei-Pei Cheng) finds a lacy orange thong in one of his pockets, which causes her to suspect Bing is cheating on her. At the same time, Maria is sick of her day-to-day unemployed housewife lifestyle, and decides to take a new path instead. Her newfound adventures consist of learning to ride a bicycle, apply for a job, and even help out her neighbours Anita (Lillian Lim), Ji (Jemmy Chen), and Su (Sharmaine Yeoh) with their unauthorized parking business. During one particular incident while escaping the cops, she also gets to know her other neighbour Gabriel (Don McKellar) a little more. Maria also gets closer in to finding out who Bing cheated on her with.

This was a hilariously good movie. One can practically feel family warmth from both the moments of closeness and the unexpected outcome of incidents. The plot practically combines many different incidents into one enjoyable story. What’s interesting is that writer/director Mina Shum came up with the idea looking out her window to see elderly neighbours getting chased by law enforcement. The characters are very well portrayed and really capture the vibe of Vancouver residents. In fact, the mixture of Chinese and English is one of those things you capture when you live in a town like this. The message itself is somewhat subtle, but clear, telling people they should get out and enjoy life while they still can. Something I can agree to myself because it’s how I do things.

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