Directed by Singaporean Jack Neo, the comedy I Not Stupid Too 2 shone at Friday's closing ceremony of the Golden Rooster International Film Festival (GRIFF).
Although it failed to win any award in the GRIFF, Neo's film captured the emotional depth and effectively conveyed the underlying theme of generation gaps. Set in fast-paced Singapore, the movie is seen through the eyes of teens Jerry, Tom and Cheng Cai in two typical families, telling of their pressures from failed communication in schools, families, and society. It made the audience laugh and cry along with the three young actors.
A veteran comedian and director, Neo said he tried to narrate everything in an amusing way, which created a "Neo-style comedy" in Singapore. However, he is also skilled in tugging audience's heartstrings and reducing them to tears in seconds. The low-budget continuation, together with the original shot in 2002, became one of the top 10 most successful films in Singapore, grossing a record S$8 million (US$4.72 million).
"When was the last time someone praised you and when was the last time you praised your child?" This was the message he wanted the film to convey to parents, said Neo, himself a father of four.
"The problem of a lack of understanding and communication between generations happens in other Asian countries," said the director.
Neo said films with children as their theme account for a large percentage of his work, as this helps him to break into local film markets normally dominated by Hollywood blockbusters.
At Friday's awards ceremony, South Korea's Son Ye-jin and Japan's Yuko Tanaka were named as Best Actress, Russian Kolya Spiridonov and Iran's Ghazale Parsafar won the Best Actors, Ireland's John Crowley and Sweden's Lena Einhorn were selected as Best Directors. The Best Movies went to "Sophie Scholl -- The Final Days" and France's "Agents Secrets."
(Shenzhen Daily October 30, 2006)