"City Monkey" screens at Chinese-American film fest

Imagine being so passionate about a sport, that it basically becomes your life. So much so, that you'd rather skip out on a college education in order to make this sport into your dream career. Now throw in a traditional Chinese mother, and you have "City Monkey."

On Monday, Nov. 1, the Chinese-American film festival, in its fourth consecutive year, held a special screening of the film "City Monkey" at Santa Monica College. "City Monkey," which was released in theaters in China this past September, was not only free for SMC students, but also helped to expose the Chinese culture to a diverse group of students.

The low-budget film, which cost approximately four million Yen, or $700,000, was a big hit. It included the right mixture of domestic drama, action, and comedy. Although entirely in Chinese (subtitles included,) the film achieved the hard task of connecting with the audience while including all these elements.

The theme of this low-budget Chinese film actually centers on the fascinating sport of parkour. Parkour includes rapid movements and gymnastic-like stunts performed on the streets. The sport itself is about overcoming obstacles in your way and moving past them. The main character, Peng, is greatly involved in this sport, and is even a coach of a parkour club at his school. He deals with the daunting task of choosing between school and parkour.

Parkour itself is a sport not recognized a lot but in China, it is of great interest. Director Kong says, "Although this movie is based on parkour, this story is about a relationship of a mother and son." Parkour was the best choice. Unlike your typical sports, parkour seems to draw that parallelism between the relationship and the sport.

Directed by Patrick Kong, this film, which took over two years to finalize, hit it out of the ball park. With the series "Blue Fox" (2005), the award-winning short film "Listen to me" (2007) and his latest project "City Monkey," which won the awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the Beijing Film Festival, Kong is China's "rising star."

For anyone who is interested in film, Kong brings a different culture, mixes it with a universal theme and creates a masterpiece that everyone can enjoy.


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