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

cover Roses Sing on New Snow. (Talespinners Collection).

Yuan Zhang (Director). Tamara Lynch (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2002.
7 min., 4 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9102 034.

Subject Headings:
Animated films-Canada.
Chinese Americans-Juvenile films.
Cookery, Chinese-Juvenile films.

Kindergarten and up / Ages 5 and up.

Review by Denise Weir.

**** /4

What would you do if someone else took credit for your work? What would you do if the individuals were your family members?

     In Roses Sing on New Snow, Maylin never receives recognition or reimbursement for the outstanding meals she prepares in her father's restaurant. As Maylin's father leads the customers to believe that his sons are the chefs, all tips sent to the kitchen are given to them.

     One day, Maylin learns that the Governor of Southern China will be visiting their region. Because he loves to eat and experience new things, the Governor has called for a cooking competition. Maylin creates a special dish from the freshest fish and the freshest herbs that can only be found in her personal garden. She calls this delectable dish "Roses Sing on New Snow." Impressed by the meal, the Governor inquires about the cook who created "Roses Sing on New Snow." However, this time, Maylin's father's lies regarding his sons' culinary skills turn against him. Realizing that the family has lied to him, the Governor sends for the real cook and requests that she send a sample of the meal to the Emperor in China. While Maylin refuses the offer, she suggests that the Governor learn the recipe by cooking alongside her. Despite using the same ingredients and following the steps precisely, the Governor's meal does not match that of Maylin's. As a result, Maylin's talents and wisdom are recognized by the Governor and her family. Maylin becomes the owner of her father's restaurant.

     Based on Paul Yee's book by the same title, this is a story about how to deal with injustice. In the end, truth and righteousness prevail, and Maylin's family must live with the shame,fear, and repercussions of their lies. Maylin doesn't go to extraordinary lengths to achieve recognition. It comes to her because of the quality of her work. Besides exploring proverbs about lying, viewers might want to consider experiments in creativity using the same materials and comparing individual results. Food preferences, including differences in taste, texture, colour, smell, and look might be another way to expand on the video, as suggested in the packaging.

     The reviewer found this presentation to be one of tranquility and contentment. These feelings are expressed in Maylin's gentle actions and the beautiful water colours used to animate the story. Oriental background music also seems to enhance the contented, peaceful mood of this vignette. However, the reviewer was confused as to whether the character's ethnic background was Chinese or Japanese.

     In general, the story's philosophical nature make it transferable and relevant to all generations. Adults could also use this video as a starting point for journaling their thoughts and experiences. The possibilities for this production are limited only by the creativity of the viewers.

Highly Recommended.

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


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ISSN 1201-9364