11 December 2001 | gabrielsmom
A bittersweet melodrama that doubles as almost a musical!
I saw this film in NYC's Chinatown when I was 12 years old. I am 30 now and have never forgotten this film. The literal translation of this film is "Caught the wrong train/bus" but the English title of the film is Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing? This English title gives a clue as to the melodrama. It is the story of Mei who has been fostered by Uncle Dumb who makes his living selling discarded wine bottles. There is great sadness and struggle during their time together. Mei, however, has a talent for singing and meets a young songwriter who becomes her love as well. She gains success as her relationship deteriorates and has forgotten all about her foster father. She is too late to see her foster father pass away. That is the story in a nutshell. Admittedly, it is a tearjerker filled with implausible cliches but the standout in this film is not the acting or the storytelling but rather its soundtrack. Filmed in the 80's in Hong Kong, this film is entirely in mandarin as are the songs. The songs are sweet and I have not forgot them to this day. Though I don't know a single word of mandarin, I still recall the melodies of the songs. The main song of the picture is based on the melody of which Uncle Dumbs sings when he hawks his wine bottles. She takes this and embellishes until a full out song for the finale of this film. The soundtrack, I believe, can no longer be purchased so if you can find this film, it may be the only record of these beautiful pieces.