Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity

Director: Mina Shum
Screenwriters: Dennis Foon, Mina Shum

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


With her enchanting and humorous third feature, director Mina Shum continues to portray contemporary Chinese Canadian life from a whimsical, humanistic perspective. Interweaving tales of three endearing families, Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity uses magical realism to explore the themes of harnessing faith and finding acceptance during rocky times.

Mindy Ho, an eccentric, strong-minded 12-year-old, stages Taoist magical experiments to save her harried single mother from financial and romantic ruin. Her misdirected charms appear to cause an aging security guard to lose his job and a local butcher to win the lottery, ultimately forcing each man to face his worst fears. As magic gradually enlivens Mindy's mother's drab existence, we can only speculate whether Mindy's spells, her monumental sense of purpose, or simply life's mysterious logic is at work.

Against a vibrant palette of symbolic Chinese colors—blue for long life, red for happiness, gold for prosperity—Shum carefully constructs a close-knit, working-class community revolving around a Dim Sum eatery and the local All-Fix lotto-and-fortune-telling mart, where Mindy purchases potions and brews mischievous schemes. Out of the vivid details of this Chinese Diaspora world emerge widely recognizable characters, who, while desperately striving to set things right, must learn to trust the universe.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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