English (Available subtitled in English)
Year of Production: 2017
Canadian Release Date: March 09, 2018
Duration: 1hr 35m
East Vancouver and an immigrant mix, old and new. We witness Maria (60’s) hanging the laundry, we meet her neighbors, and see her exercising in the park with her charming soulful husband, Bing (65). Epic landscapes and the hint of loneliness.
It’s Bing’s 65th birthday, and their grown daughter Ava (40’s), her husband Jonathan (40s) and their bi-racial kids, baby Milly and Max (6) come home to honour him. Tipsy, Bing makes a heartfelt ode to his gal Maria, and is restrained and sweet. The day after, Maria is alone doing her usual tidying when she reaches into Bing’s suit pocket and discovers an orange g-string thong.
We watch her reaction and her full range of emotions morphing between disbelief, shock, anger and fear. But she’s interrupted by a sudden visit from Ava, her daughter. Ava is here to deliver a wedding invitation from her brother Charles (30s), Maria’s disowned son. Ava: “Charlie knows if he mailed it to you here and Dad got it first, he’d rip it up.” The estrangement between father and son is deep and impenetrable. Maria wants to go to the wedding, but knows it’s impossible.
After Ava leaves, Maria puts the g-string thong back where she found it and tries to forget she ever saw it. She tries to act normal with Bing. But her suspicions mount and after seeing a detective show on TV, she strikes on the idea of following her husband and spying on him in order to find out the truth. But Maria realizes she will need money to do this.
Maria becomes aware that the forty years she’s spent in Canada has been one entirely dependent on her husband. She has no fiscal independence nor work experience. After unsuccessfully trying to get a job, she decides to sell “backyard parking” and befriends a group of neighborhood Chinese Po Po's (Grandmas) who show her how. Maria lives near the Stadium, a hockey arena/event venue. For a few bucks, event goers pay to park in private backyards. The Po Po's have the intel on how not to get caught by by-law officials, since this is business is technically illegal. There’s a protocol to this little economy and the Po Po's point out their neighbor Gabriel is doing it all wrong.
With her earnings, Maria starts her surveillance, tailing Bing in taxicabs. When that becomes too expensive, she makes Ava teach her how to ride a bike, hiding all this learning from her husband. She confirms her Bing is having an affair with a woman from China named Ji (50s). In the middle of this despair, Maria’s “daughter-in-law to be” Dylan shows up to meet Maria. Bing comes home, he catches Dylan (30s) leaving and Maria lies, saying Dylan is a stranger ‘selling God door to door’. Bing chastises Maria for letting a stranger into the house. Maria nods in compliance.
Later Bing announces that he’s going on a business trip to Tokyo. He says he’s going alone. Maria starts to follow Ji. Eventually Ji confronts Maria and notices the wedding band on Maria’s hand; she realizes that this must be Bing’s wife. Maria takes off. When Bing comes home, he’s on a rampage, announcing that the Tokyo trip is off. He says Tokyo has rejected him and he slips into a funk. Maria has her Bing back now and she hates it. She even begs Ji to take him back.
While Maria nurses Bing’s broken heart, she continues to sell parking and becomes friends with Gabriel and the Po-Pos. But then Bing forbids Maria from selling any more parking. After keeping her knowledge of his affair to herself, after putting up with betrayal after betrayal, the possibility of losing her new friendships and freedom is the final straw for Maria. In front of Ava and family, Maria tells Bing that she’s going to attend Charlie’s wedding, whether he likes it or not. Bing gets angry and forbids it. Maria fed up, confronts Bing: “Bing, sometimes you don’t think about me, so for once I’m not going to think about you.”
The next day, Maria is off to see her son, rolling her little suitcase down the tree-lined street. She waves to her friends Gabriel and The Po-Po’s, as she heads for the public bus. Maria’s free at last.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Meditation Park Film Ltd.
Cast/Participants: Cheng Pei Pei, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Zak Santiago, Jemmy Chen, Lillian Lim, Liane Balaban, Alannah Ong, Sharmaine Yeoh
Awards & Nominations