[critical] A Simple Life

Ah Tao was born in Taishan in China. It is at the service of the family Leung for the past 60 years, four generations. Today, she lives alone with Roger, the last member of the family Leung in Hong Kong.

Author’s Note


Release Date : May 08, 2013

Directed by Ann Hui

With Joghis Seudin Arias, Julio Cesar Roble, Floralba Achicanoy, David Fernando Guacas, Heraldo Romero

Film in hong kong

Duration : 1h30

Original title : Tao Jie

Trailer :

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Last year, we had the right to Love by Michael Haneke. With this film, we have once again a duo of protagonists, and the main character female that is the end of life. The first big difference is that it is not a matter of a couple of octogenarian. The love between a young producer and the woman who had served his family for sixty years. She became for him as a nanny-substitute mother. Once, she stayed with him and took care of him, when he was seriously ill. Now, the roles are reversed, and the young man will take care of the woman who looked after him once.

Where this film stands apart from that of Michael Haneke, it is that it does not show neutrality. It is not a demonstration of the human condition. As does Eat Sleep Die Gabriela Pichler (Sweden, June 2013), Ann Hui takes on a dramatic subject, and part of one side uninhibited. Talk about a dramatic subject by coloring the melancholy by tenderness instant. While Michael Haneke’s filming the drama to show the love. Here, Ann Hui films the love to treat the drama.

With A few exceptions, each scene contains this effect of tenderness. We laugh, we find her chat, we dance, we phone to friends, etc… And the image of the scarf and slippers as a gift, this movie has a small message very nice. Learn to appreciate and enjoy the small things. Because, who knows what can happen to us ? This is where the drama becomes more accessible than in Love by Michael Haneke. The joy and happiness fill the film from beginning to end. Filming life at the same time where it is going.

An almost melodrama where Ann Hui mixture of drama and tenderness, in order to better shoot the sparks of life, before it ends.

And with all this tenderness instatanée, the film is proof of the generosity and naivety. Whether in the form or in the background (the characters). In the form, it will be noticed (for example) that, in the centre of rest, the walls between each room do not go up to the ceiling. One of the ways of the film to bind all these characters together. Not to separate, as a kind of communion of bodies, while some are dying little by little. The naivety comes in, for example, in the love that all the characters have between them.

It is here that Ann Hui pulls the power of his film. The characters love them, the maternity ward of the nanny has a lot to do. In addition, we see that she loves her characters. She wants to show us sparks of life before the end. But above all, there has this side common with these characters. This allows us to see the film and the subject of the film with simplicity and lightness. Note in particular the interpretation and incredible finesse of the leading actress Deanie Ip. Surprising faux cousin of Emmanuelle Riva.

What we can retain of the realization, it is this way of Ann’s Today to remain constantly at the side of its characters. Whether at work, among friends or with the duo of protagonists, Ann Hui made sure that the audience is in the story. End of the golden age of cinema hong kong, Ann Hui continues her work style. The filming of the real, filming in the moment, create the poetry of the movement in life, etc… A melodrama like no other, a melodrama touching and upsetting at the same time.

It seems difficult to speak of melodrama to speak of. Because, whether in substance or form, the film shows a palette of grey fascinating. Beyond the colors of life, beyond the bright sparks on the inside of the characters, there is this grey shade that escapes the subject. A melodrama happy, certainly, but a melodrama more gray than one might see and think about. And all of this until the end, a tear total. A finish that still manages to create love when it is finished.

Finally, A Simple Life is a film that is touching and upsetting. Fake remake of Love by Michael Haneke, Deanie Ip plays a exciting fake cousin of Emmanuelle Riva. A nanny has served the family for sixty years, and whose roles are reversed. But the love is still there, the generosity and naivety, and integrated. Difficult to talk about the melodrama, as the grey shade is totally a part of the film. Appreciate the little things in life and stay to the sides of the other, this order of color in the drama by the tenderness.

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