Synopsis: It is New Year’s Eve 1999 in Macau. Ho Yi-Cheung just graduated from university and is anxious to leave the confining island to teach art and find himself. Yi-Cheung has been haunted by a sense of abandonment ever since he was a child, when his mother left for Taiwan to work and support him and his father, a failed Cantonese opera singer. However, when Yi Cheung’s lifelong girlfriend Mei tells him that Macau is her home, he reluctantly agrees to stay.
He becomes an art teacher in Macau, but his passionate, honest, and raw approach nearly costs him his job. Feeling like a failure, Yi-Cheung vows he wouldn’t repeat his parents’ mistakes and decides that what matters most is making enough money to buy a house for Mei and their growing family. He becomes a croupier at a casino, working such long hours that he completely neglects his family. It isn’t until Mei takes the kids and leaves that he realizes she never wanted a big house—she only wanted the same thing he always wanted: for the family to spend time together. That’s when it hit him—his fear of losing Mei has caused him to lose everything.
Will getting back into art and unchaining his passion that Mei had always championed when they were young be enough to show her that he is the person she always thought he was?
Ka lan Tang (Mei)
My film “Patio of Illusion” tells a story of the life of an ordinary person in Macau. It covers a long period of time, about 20 years, beginning with the reunion of Macau and China in 1999 and ending in the year 2019. The protagonist graduates from college and goes through many things along with Macau in these years. This story is based on materials provided by local people, their true stories and events.
In this film, we wanted to talk about “family”. In the quickly shifting social environment, the protagonist loses himself and tries to blend in, tending to agree with things that he used to be against. At the same time, he tries to pursue what he wants the most – “family”. When he loses his courage to face his true self and his family members, he risks losing what he treasured the most. “Family is always important,” is the message that we wanted to share the most throughout this film.
On the other hand, I also wanted to show the world more of the city of Macau. Although it’s very small, it is already very well known in the world. To most people, Macau is famous for its casinos, but in this film, through the journey of our protagonist, I want to show people the life of the local people in Macau as well as the particular style of buildings and lifestyle, influenced by both eastern and western cultures.
Shangshi Chen has more than 10 years of experience in project management, production and directing, and has been a guest lecturer at the School of Communication, University of Macau. He has produced and directed more than 1,000 minutes of content for the 3D animated cartoon series “Time and Space Fun,” which spanned three seasons with 78 episodes. He has managed and produced outsourced 3D animated projects such as the 10-minute movie “Snow White: The Power of Dwarfs,” 285 minutes of content for “Mathematics Desert Island Adventure 3” spanning 19 episodes, which was broadcasted on China Central Television and won its television prize, and the New Year’s episode for the TV series “Boonie Bears”. Chen has produced and directed more than twenty 3D animated public service announcements for the Guangzhou Municipal Government and Macau Government and has served as the vice president of the Guangzhou Animation Industry Association. He has also directed more than 40 televised music programs, including singers such as Sun Nan, Hotcha, Li Yuhe, and Deng Yuhua.