Director: Michael Wong
Starring: Dongjun Han, Zhuang Zhiqi, Jose Acosta
Review Author: Tony
After having the privilege of debuting Spotlight with the fantastic short film Mum we were excited to converse with other filmmakers about doing a write-up on their work. While we planned to start domestically we were delighted to be approached by Malaysian filmmaker Michael Wong to have a look at his award-winning short, The Story of 90 Coins. Whilst we certainly weren’t expecting to be moving onto international films right away we welcome chances like this with open arms.
Set in Beijing, two young lovers stare off a rooftop at a beautiful cityscape. The passionate young man makes a promise to spend 90 days to convince her to marry him sharing a coin each day that is a representation of their love and time together. Whilst their relationship initially blossoms life comes knocking at their door and the cracks begin to show.
Clocking in at just nine minutes, it’s impressive just how much ground is covered in this short run time. Wong masterfully expands on the premise of his film without ever stretching it thin. There are plenty of other feature-length romantic dramas which share a similar premise but poorly utilize them and treat the premise as more like a gimmick. Here we experience affection, love, heartbreak, and regret in just the space of nine minutes with no cliches and a more relatable narrative.
The film is beautifully shot opening with a picturesque view of nighttime Beijing lit up by city lights. Wong captures the intoxicating essence of young love with a series of well-crafted and impressive shots. Each short scene perfectly moves the narrative forward, no shot is wasted. Besides the opening scene, I believe this short film wouldn’t need subtitles as its story transfers into a familiar visual language.
It’s a bittersweet tale which a poignant but low-key message that many can relate to. It’s easy to see why this short has collected such an accolade of awards. You can check out The Story of 90 Coins below and I’ve also provided a link to the Facebook page here.