Saw Teong Hin’s Tribute To His Late Mother Is A Brave and Beautiful Family Drama

You Mean the World to Me is an upcoming film that already draws you in with its beautiful cinematography, but keeps making you fall further in love with at almost every turn. The film is spoken almost entirely in Penang Hokkien, but bear no mistake – there is no linguistic barrier to separate how profound and breathtaking Saw Teong Hin’s film really is.

Saw Teong Hin‘s script for this film has been in the works since 2009, but now this semi-autobiographical feature will be ready for public viewing on the 4th of May 2017 in a cinema near you. Produced by Astro Shaw and Real Films, it showcases Penang with all of its present and past charm. The setting itself perfectly captures the dual-timeline approach the director uses in telling his story.


The story itself is about a director called Sunny who seeks to make a film about himself and, in the process, come to terms with the frustration and anger he’s felt towards his family. No single moment of this was cliched or hackneyed. Saw Teong Hin sets a wonderful tone that is neither screechy in its emotion (symptomatic of some local dramas), yet always leaves you wondering and pondering.

Your parents are the easiest people to take for granted as you think it is their responsibility to care for you. – Saw Teong Hin

This of course is significantly boosted by Christopher Doyle‘s wonderful sense of framing and pace, evident in his cinematography. Adding to the litany of great work he has done with Wong Kar Wai such as In The Mood For Love, You Mean the World to Me  does not waste a single frame to purposelessness. Every framing decision seems to be assisted with emotion and direction. The climax of the film (and the ending) are great testimonies to that. Christoper Doyle’s signature style can also be seen in how Aunt Grace (Evan Chin) is depicted below.

Aunt Grace played by Evan Chin

The film’s ensemble cast is sturdy and consistent too from Frederick Lee‘s stoic interpretation of the main protagonist, Sunny, to the portrayal of mental disability by John Tan who plays Sunny’s brother, Ah Boy. The mother, played by Neo Swee Lin (the mother from the popular TV show, Phua Chu Kang), tugs your heart-string with her wonderful performance.

The family

“This is a story of sacrifice, compassion and redemption,” says Saw. “Your parents are the easiest people to take for granted as you think it is their responsibility to care for you. When my mother passed away in 1999, I became such a mess. I realised that I had a lot of unresolved issues with her; a lot of things were left unsaid. Working on this project was a therapeutic experience, the whole process helped to put things in perspective. It helped me to make peace.”

Accompanied with a wonderful score complete with rebab and flute, watching this movie would first break your heart but subsequently piece it all back together satisfactorily. You Mean the World to Me definitely puts an audacious twist to the family drama genre, and if you look in between the frames while immersing yourself in what the story captures, you might find closure the film too.

You Mean The World To Me will be released on the 4th of May 2017. Watch it with your family or friends, you won’t regret it.

CORRECTION (30/4/2017): In the previous version of the article, the actor who played Aunt Grace was mistakenly named as Sue Tan. The mistake has been corrected to Evan Chin.

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