Luck, karma, coincidence, religion and faith – “Eve and the Fire Horse” deals with all of these things. Written and directed by Julia Kwan, the film follows a family after they deal with tragedy after tragedy. Eve is a nine year-old little girl born on the Chinese Year of the Fire Horse. According to the film, when kids are born during this time, some parents drown the infants in a river since years with this label often produced problematic children, a tradition she keeps one her mind, since she wasn’t one of those unlucky children.
As summer approaches, Eve’s family is going through a very tragic time. Her mom May-Lin (Vivian Wu) just had a miscarriage and Frank (Lester Chit Man Chan), her father, doesn’t really have a lucrative job. Eve (Phoebe Jo Jo Kut) is then inspired to turn towards Christianity from her older sister, Karena (Hollie Lo). Seeing such mature observations through the eyes of a little girl separate this film from the average family melodrama. For two girls at such a young age to be so interested in religion as strongly as they are (especially without parents forcing it upon them) is an attention-grabbing concept. Unfortunately, it’s an action that just suddenly happens without being fully developed.
For a first feature, Kwan may have tackled too many themes without any clear understanding. For instance, the girls are all to eager to jump from Buddhism to Christianity. It’s definitely an interesting commentary on how some religions follow some of the same philosophies yet most aren’t willing to except each other.
“Eve and the Fire Horse” is an ambitious feature-length debut from Julie Kwan, which demonstrates her directing skill when it comes to actors. Mychael Danna’s score is a mix of Danny Elfman and Jon Brion, fitting the material perfectly. It’s an okay family film – especially for the religious set looking to open their horizons – with plenty of moral lessons to keep any group happy.