Mina Shum's Meditation Park is all about coming of age — when you're in your 60s
Shum shines a spotlight on a generation that Hollywood tends to neglect
"The cat has caught a new fish."
That's the Cantonese idiom for infidelity that sparked Mina Shum to write the screenplay for Meditation Park.
The film follows the life of Maria, a 60-year-old devoted Chinese-Canadian housewife. After discovering her husband's affair with a younger woman, Maria starts a personal journey to find her own independence after decades of being a subservient wife and mother.
Watch a clip from Mina Shum's interview on The Filmmakers:
"It's important in the film to illustrate what it is to be powerless," says Mina in her interview with The Filmmakers co-host Amanda Parris. "Those women are invisible, so I really wanted to shine a light."
Maria soon joins a group of "parking ladies" that rent illegal parking stalls during events in East Vancouver. She finds kinship in this group of women and begins exploring her personal identity separate from her traditional role as a wife and mother.
Those women are invisible, so I really wanted to shine a light.- Mina Shum
Turning away from tradition is never easy. Mina Shum first explored this theme in her 1998 feature film Double Happiness starring Sandra Oh — who also plays Maria's daughter in Meditation Park.
Maria is played by martial arts movie legend Cheng Pei Pei, who has been cast in various action roles since the 1960s. Her lead role as a vulnerable Chinese-Canadian senior is a big change from the martial arts badass she played in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Making Meditation Park was a Herculean effort from both cast and crew. Mina wrote the screenplay in a month, shot it within 18 days in her Vancouver neighborhood and made it the top Canadian film at the box office at its 2017 release. Now, the film is at the centre of The Filmmakers's Season 2 premiere.
Grab your popcorn and watch the movie, sit in on the panel discussion and check out Amanda Parris's full interview with Mina Shum!
Season 2 of The Filmmakers premieres this Saturday, July 28 at 8:30pm ET/CT/MT, 9:30pm AT, 10PM NT and 11pm PT on CBC TV and cbc.ca/watch.