Gwat mooi [Sisterhood] (2016)

Gwat mooi
Director: Tracy Choi
Writer: Kin-Yee Au, Yee Lam Wong
Cast: Gigi Leung, Fish Liew, Jennifer Yu, Lee-zen Lee, Kevin Kam-Yin Chu, Panther Chan, Stephanie Che, Eliz Lao, Teresa Mak
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 3.6.2020

Plot:
Many years ago, Sei (Gigi Leung) fled Macau and went to Taiwan, trying to forget her past. But when the news of Ling’s death reaches her, she has to return and confront it. When they were both barely adults, Sei (Fish Liew) and Ling (Jennifer Yu) met working in a massage parlor and they quickly became best friends. Their relationship was everything to them – until it wasn’t anymore. But looking back at it now, Sei may discover some things she hadn’t previously seen.

If you’re looking for a good cry, Sisterhood is ready and here for you. It’s such a nicely told film with such charming leads, I almost didn’t mind that it was another sad queer story.

The film poster showing two girls in uniform holding hands. Both are wearing bracelets with numbers - 18 and 19 respectively.

Sisterhood touches on many things – you have the two young, broke women who try to make it in the world which probably would have been enough for one thing on its own. But add to that the growing romantic tension between the two, coupled with the apparent unthinkability of a romantic relationship between them and you get another layer to add depth to the film. And that’s not even considering that all of this happens in the flashbacks of the actual story of Sei confronting her past to finally understand what happened back then.

All of this could have become pretty messy when putting it all together, but the pieces fit nicely together and the film sticks with the emotional core of the film. That is Sei who finally reconciles herself with her own past – and with Ling. Gigi Leung does a beautiful job showing Sei’s pain and the way she tried to live with it, while Fish Liew gives us the innocence and emotional depth that Sei started from and that contrasts beautifully with the older Sei – even if it hasn’t disappeared entirely. And Jennifer Yu just dazzles in a role that is meant to make you fall in love with her – and I challenge you not to. I absolutely fell for her.

Sei (Fish Liew), Ling (Jennifer Yu), Ying (Panther Chan) and Gigi (Elize Lao) singing karaoke.

It is quite amazing to me that this film is Choi’s first feature. It does not feel like a debut work, although there are a few moments that are maybe a little too on the nose and some jumps from past to present and back that are a bit too abrupt. But then again there are moments that are pure magic like when Sei and Ling are lying under the park bench.

In the end the film achieved the most important thing: I had an emotional response. In fact, I cried a lot. And that’s just as it should be.

Sei (Fish Liew) and Ling (Jennifer Yu) lying next to each other.

Summarizing: Very much worth seeing.

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