|The Garden of Evening Mists|
|Directed by||Tom Lin Shu-yu|
|Screenplay by||Richard Smith|
|Based on||The Garden of Evening Mists|
Novel by Tan Twan Eng
|Edited by||Soo Mun Thye|
|Music by||Onn Sann|
(partial Japanese, Malay, Cantonese)
The Garden of Evening Mists (Chinese: 夕霧花園) is a 2019 Malaysian English-language drama film. Set in 1940s Malaya, a woman survives the Japanese war camp. To build a garden for her sister who dies, she travels to Cameron Highlands, and become student to a mysterious Japanese gardener, while their forbidden love relationship blooms.
The film received positive reviews. Adapted from the 2012 English-language novel of same name by Tan Twan Eng, the film is directed by Tom Lin Shu-yu, and stars Lee Sin-je, Hiroshi Abe and Sylvia Chang.
It received nine nominations at the 56th Golden Horse Awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Leading Actress, and won for Best Makeup and Costume Design. The film was released on 29 November 2019 in Taiwan; 26 December 2019 in Hong Kong; 16 January 2020 in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore; 24 July 2021 in Japan.
The 1940s Malaya was once occupied by the Japanese army. Local women Teoh Yun Ling and her sister are imprisoned and tortured in a brutal Japanese war camp. After the war, Yun Ling survives the horror, but her sister did not. Haunted by her sister's tragic death, she travels to the local Cameron Highlands to meet the mysterious renowned Japanese gardener, Nakamura Arimoto. The gardener resides there and is building Yugiri, a small Japanese garden. She decides to learn from him and build a garden to pay tribute of her late sister. As the garden slowly grows on the tea hills, tender feelings between them blossoms to a forbidden love affair, that changes hatred and deeply entrenched beliefs. How will their story go?
The background is set in 1940s and 1950s of Malaya (present day Malaysia). During the period, the country was a British colony, known as British Malaya. In 1942, the Japanese army occupied Malaya, forcing British to retreat. Malaya was ruled by Japanese army for three years, until 1945 after Japan surrendered. The British then returned to occupy, while independence movement rose. In 1948, conflict between British army and Malayan communist party led to irregular guerrilla wars until 1960. Malaya was declared emergency for these 12 years. Malaysia achieved independence in 1957.
The film is based on the 2012 English-language novel of same name, written by Tan Twan Eng. The book was well received and won the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize. In 2014, it was announced that the novel would be adapted by Malaysian film company Astro Shaw and HBO Asia, with support from National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS). The film was originally to be written and directed by Malaysian filmmakers.
Taiwanese director Tom Lin Shi-yu was eventually chosen to direct, while screenwriting was passed to Scottish screenwriter, Richard Smith. The cast are Malaysian actress Lee Sinje, Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe, Taiwanese actress Sylvia Chang, British actors David Oakes, Julian Sands, Scottish actor John Hannah, Malaysian actress Serene Lim and Singaporean actress Tan Kheng Hua.
The production team members are from Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Australia and the United Kingdom. Principal photography started in July 2018. Filming took place in Malaysia, including Cameron Highlands. The internment camp and small gardens in the film are constructed. 90% of the dialogue in the film is English, with some Cantonese, Japanese and Malay language.
The film received positive reviews from audience and critics. The film had its world premiere at the 24th Busan International Film Festival on 4 October 2019. It was screened in November 2019 at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2019.
The film was released on 29 November 2019 in Taiwan, 26 December 2019 in Hong Kong, and 16 January 2020 in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
The Malaysian version of the film is 1 hour and 53 minutes, which is slightly different from the international version of 2 hours. It is reported that the Malaysian version has an affectionate scene cut by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia, and some scenes have been slightly adjusted, the film is still overall complete and the cut does not affect the plot.
At the 56th Golden Horse Awards, the film was nominated for nine awards, and won one award. It was nominated for Best Feature Film, Best Director for Tom Lin, Best Leading Actress for Lee Sinje, it won the Best Makeup and Costume Design.
|56th Golden Horse Awards (2019)||Best Feature Film||The Garden of Evening Mists||Nominated|
|Best Director||Tom Lin Shu-yu||Nominated|
|Best Leading Actress||Lee Sinje||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Richard Smith||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Kartik Vijay||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Penny Tsai Pei-ling, Lum Heng-soon, Chen Hsuan-shao||Nominated|
|Best Makeup & Costume Design||Nikki Gooley, Biby Chow, Penny Tsai Pei-ling, Nina Edwards||Won|
|Best Original Film Score||Onn San||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Soo Mun-thye||Nominated|