________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 20. . . . June 6, 2003

cover The Friends of Kwan Ming. (Talespinners Collection).

Christine Amber Tang (Director). Tamara Lynch (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2002.
7 min., 3 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9102 038.

Subject Headings:
Moving, Household-Juvenile films.
Friendship-Juvenile films.
Emigration and immigration-Juvenile films.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Denise Weir.

**** /4

What would you do if you were alone in the world? Could you survive without the friendship and good will of others?

     After his father's death, Kwan Ming uses the proceeds from the sale of his father's property to travel from China to the New World to find work. Although the journey is dangerous, Kwan Ming becomes good friends with three other men who are also immigrating to find a better life.

     Once in the New World, prejudice and suspicion prevent Kwan Ming and his friends from finding employment. With the assistance of the Inn Keeper, they are made aware of job opportunities. Thinking of the welfare of his friends' families in China, Kwan Ming allows his friends to take the best work while he must accept the position of a shop boy.

     When Kwan Ming's cruel master falls down some wet stairs, the master gives Kwan Ming three impossible tasks that he must fullfill to keep his job. The shopkeeper desires a coat that will not tear, boots that will not wear out. and bread that will not go stale. Believing that he will fail these tasks, Kwan Ming tells his troubles to his friends who are ready to assist. Each of the friends is working in a position to supply one of these items. Swelling from all the bread he has eaten, the master becomes like a balloon. The coat and boots hold him tight, and he floats off into the distance leaving Kwan Ming and his friends to form a successful business partnership.

     Based on the story by the same title in Paul Yee's Tales of the Gold Mountain, this vignette would be a useful addition for materials dealing with topics of friendship, bullying, and greed. Discussions suggestions included in the video's packaging are discrimination, problem solving, and forms of energy. While there is sorrow and uncertainty in the beginning of this story, the mood of the animation is light. Bright spring colors and sunshine are in most of the scenes. Oriental background music also adds serenity to the production. Viewers will enjoy the animated clay characters and will be satisfied by the justice served at the end of the movie.

Highly Recommended.

Denise Weir is a consultant with Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Public Library Services.


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ISSN 1201-9364