Chattanooga Film Festival: Munkie (2021)

Jennifer Pan’s parents left Vietnam for Canada where they toiled at Magna International, an auto parts manufacturer in Ontario, working hard at car part manufacturing so that their children would have a much better life than they did.

They were also incredibly strict and had extremely high expectations. Jennifer was already training to be an Olympic-level figure skater and concert pianist by the age of 4. Jennifer was dropped off at school and picked up, monitored even when not home and not allowed to date boys or go to school dances. By the time she was 22, she had never been drunk, never gone on vacation without her family and never even been to a club.

All along, her parents thought that she had good grades. The truth was, other than music, she was a C-average student. To get around that, she continually forged her report cards and she even secretly taught piano and worked in a restaurant to earn money that she told them was a scholarship for her to study in the pharmacology program at the University of Toronto. She even bought textbooks and faked notes from YouTube classes to further allow her parents to think she was in school.

The truth? She was living with her mixed heritage — a big issue with her family — marijuana dealing and Boston Pizza-employee boyfriend. Her parents eventually found out when the deceptions grew too big to explain and it was discovered that she never even graduated high school. She was forced to break up with the guy, who got a new and younger girlfriend, and she went off the deep end, claiming that he had hired a gang of men to assault her and she was mailed one bullet by her lover’s new girlfriend.

After trying to pay a goth kid to kill her parents, she got back with the old boyfriend and they spent $10,000 to hire real hitmen to kill mom and dad, knowing that she’d get $500,000 in the will. That’s what we call business sense. Well, the killers did get her mother, but her father survived and when the case fell apart, she was convicted for 25 years in jail, never permitted to contact her family or lover again.

That story inspired Munkie, in which Stephen Chow directs the tale of Rose (Xana Tang), a young woman rebelling against her tiger parents. And by that, I mean paying to get them killed. Yet in the way that the film is made, you feel for her and understand perhaps what drove her to this point. You still understand that she’s not a good person, but again, she didn’t get to this point by herself.

You can watch the film here:

You can also watch this at the Chattanooga Film Festival. This weekend, you can buy a back half half price badge to watch all of the awesome movies and see them until 6/29!  Get yours right here!

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