Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Chinese Botanist's Daughters (2006)

Chinese title: Botanical Garden (Never mind the incorrect writing of the word "家" in the movie poster)

The Chinese Botanist's Daughters (2006)The botanist could prescribe himself a few brews of polygonum multiflorum (or He-shou-wu in Chinese) that he lectures to the future TCM physicians as a remedy for constipation. He could use it for his anal retentive shortcoming, if you know what I mean (disclaimer: this isn't a medical advice. Trust me, I'm not a doctor).

If the picturesque landscape in the movie spurs you to book a flight to Kunlin, China you have been led astray. I was confused when I watched the mesmerising natural wonders that looked oddly familiar, and yet I knew I had never been to Kunlin, China, where the Botanical Garden is located.

My suspicion of the filming location was confirmed when I was graced with the scene of a railway track that lined by densely populated residential housing on both sides only a few paces from the rails without any fencing (it's actually too close to the track to erect fences).

I was finally 100% confirmed by the closing credits that most of the crews are either French or Vietnamese. In fact, the only Chinese in the acting cast are the 3 actors who play the family members of the botanist. I believe the breathtaking scenery are those around the Ha Long Bay, and the temples looked very Vietnamese (I should know), and the railway track that runs through the centre of Hanoi are well known touristy sight of Hanoi (I should know). So this is the tourist destination if you fancy a holidy that piqued your interest by this French travelogue of North Vietnam.

With the script of lesbian eroticism, the French studio knew full well that their application to make such film in China will be torpedoed by the Chinese film bureau faster than the high speed rail that get them there, so they settled to make this film outside China - at the expense of authenticity - somewhere in Asia. If this is a Hollywood movie, the place of choice would likely to be Thailand (the records show), since this is a French production, choosing its former Asian colonial outpost for its film location seems logical. French making films in Vietnam is as common as Vietnamese bakeries making French sticks. Bon appetit !

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