Grandma and Her Ghosts- -
A 5 year old kid moves to live with his grandma in a small town at Taiwan. Soon after, he discovers that her grandma is not only a vendor, but also she is good at catching spectres. One day, she comes across that her grandson has mistakenly releases some of the most ferocious ghosts from her house...
When his mother goes to visit his father abroad, city-boy Doudou is dumped in a south Taiwanese fishing village with Grandma, a fish-ball vendor and sometime spirit-medium.
Grandma has little time for him because it’s the height of summer and there are ghosts to appease in two local festivals.
Grandma must feed hungry ghosts, keep genuinely evil spirts at bay, and provide restless souls with floating lanterns.
Sulking at the lack of urban comforts, Doudou peeks into a forbidden outbuilding, and accidentally frees an evil spirit that possesses Grandma’s cat Kulo…
A crash-course in Chinese folk mythology, GRANDMA AND HER GHOSTS conceals several parables for children, preaching kindness in this life, and affirming a strong belief in the next. Its attitude towards death is refreshingly straightforward – a girl is advised not to cry at a funeral, and tartly asks if it is better to be laughing – while the film is confident enough in the afterlife to make a character’s death the central joke of the final scene.
Buried even deeper is something for the adult audience, a yearning for the innocence of youth (the ability to see ghosts fades with age) and a gentle nudge that it is not only the kids who should work harder on others’ behalf.
Comparisons are inevitable with Tsui Hark’s animated CHINESE GHOST STORY (1997) which similarly imposes modern mores on the spirit world, but does so with an appreciably higher budget.
With an urban child sent to the countryside because of parental illness, eventually coming to love and respect the rural tradition, it owes a clear debt to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO while the black cat Kulo and white dog Shilo have Japanese names and pedigrees, resembling similar animal characters in KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival