PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST 2023 REVIEW! Director Sean Wang’s documentary short, Nai Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma), is personal because it’s about his two grandmas, Yi Yan Fuei and Zhang Li Hua. They are an inseparable super team who dances, plays music, stretches, and farts together while having the time of their lives. Who says that you have to stop having fun when you’re elderly?
Zhang Li Hua is 83 but says that she feels like she’s 20. By contrast, Yi Yan Fuei is 94 and humorously says that she feels like she’s 100. Watching these women’s pure joy in their daily lives makes the 16-minute runtime fly by. They are hilarious when they’re doing things like talking about their farts. But then they’re so wise in the next moment when discussing life and death. It’s disappointing that our American society usually discards the elderly and holds them in low regard when we have so much to learn from them.
“Who says that you have to stop having fun when you’re elderly?”
Yi Yan Fuei and Zhang Li Hua keep things like their shoes organized. Yi Yan Fuei reads the newspaper with a magnifying glass, saying, “As long as I have the newspaper, I can live.” They haven’t gone to the market in a year because they fear what is happening in the news. How do they keep their happiness going? Their attitude and the little things in life.
Throughout Nai Nai & Wài Pó, the two women show off for the camera like they’re movie stars. They often say that filming gives them added energy and that in the future Wang can show his children what they were like. I hope that a wider audience than just his children are watching this in the future because their happy existence is something we can all model ourselves after.
“The days we spend feeling pain and the days we spend feeling joy are the same days spent. So, I’m going to choose joy” – Yi Yan Fuei. Words that we can all live by.
"…their happy existence is something we can all model ourselves after."