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Review: Children of Invention

childrenofinvention021‘Children of Invention’ is Tze Chun’s debut feature film, which was based on his short “Windowbreaker,” a short that played at the Sundance Film Festival. We were fortunate enough to see ‘Invention’ first at IFFBoston, and are happy to see it open at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge this week.

‘Children of Invention,’ tells the story of Elaine, a single mother from a China, raising her two children alone just outside the city of Boston. Elaine is constantly looking for a way to make ends meet, and finds herself in-and-out of get-rich-quick schemes. We join the family as Elaine is trying to return bottles of vitamins she’d been trying to sell. The vunerable mother then enters a pyramid scheme, which happens to prey on low-income foreigners like herself. Her two children, Raymond, and Tina, are left to fend on their own when something goes wrong in the pyramid scheme.

The idea of two children waking up and having their only protector gone leaves an uneasy feeling, and plays to very relatable fears.Rather then panicking, Raymond, the elder child takes his sister, and decides the only way to support themselves is to sell the inventions that they have created together.

‘Children of Invention,’ is no doubt a personal story for Chun, this is felt through out the entire film. ‘Children of Invention,’ is a tale inspired by his own upbringing. His Mother who was in the audience shared her worries that the audience might have thought that there were a lot of similarities between the film and real life, fearful that we might think that she wasn’t a good mother. However, members of the audience said that there is a strong empathy felt for the Mother, as every action she takes is out of love for her two children. The atmosphere of the film as a whole is amazing, and highlighted by an excellent score.

Often the world the characters moved through seemed to be intentionally out of focus. This shallow depth of field highlighted the feeling that these characters are cut off and separated from the world they inhabit. The only thing that they had and could rely on was each other.

You can catch ‘Invention’ it at its premiere February 26th, at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge.

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