桃姐 | A Simple Life

A Simple Life

Based on a true story, the film centres on Ah Tao, an amah who has worked for the Leung family for four generations. She lives with and takes care of Roger, a film producer who is the only member of the Leung household still living in Hong Kong. Roger returns home one day and finds Ah Tao unconscious after a stroke. Convinced she has becoming a burden, Tao resigns and moves into a retirement home. But upon her arrival, she continues to be taken care of by Roger, who realizes just how important she is to him. He decides to do his best to watch after the person who has nurtured him all his life. But Ah Tao’s health is fast deteriorating. Hui has always excelled when telling stories of everyday life. In A Simple Life, she delivers a rich and heartwarming drama that not only deals with the many abandoned old people in Hong Kong, but also exquisitely captures the unique relationship between the amah and the family for which she cares. In an age when loyalty between employers and employees is fast disappearing, A Simple Life highlights a culture that has almost ceased to exist in Hong Kong: one in which a person devotes their life to serving a family, and in return is cherished as much as any other relative.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Andy Lau, Deannie Yip, Hailu Qin, Fuli Wang, Paul Chun | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Okinawa Film Festival, Durban Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Portland Film Festival

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白银帝国 | Empire of Silver

Empire of Silver

With this lush epic Palo Alto–based filmmaker Christina Yao tells a story both timely and timeless: a tale of love, succession and compromised ideals that chronicles the lives of a powerful family of Shanxi bankers during the waning years of the Qing Dynasty. Downright Shakespearean in theme, the film details a little-known piece of Chinese history while offering parallels to the current financial crisis with its shadowy world of unscrupulous market fixing and backroom deals. In the northeastern Chinese province of 19th-century Shanxi, a group of bankers amassed extensive wealth and power that allowed them considerable independence from the state. The fictional Kang family is one such clan, whose fortunes take a sudden turn for the worse when several of the family’s heirs meet tragic fates and civil unrest threatens the nation’s stability. Third Master, a hedonist and the Kang patriarch’s least favorite son, is now called upon to carry on their lineage. Torn between familial obligation and his own desire for love and happiness, he sets out to reform his father’s unethical business practices while shepherding the family through the country’s growing unrest. Full of swooping crane shots, monumental sets and massive landscapes, Yao’s debut recalls the opulent historical sagas of Chinese Fifth Generation filmmakers like Zhang Yimou as it combines a passionate tale of unrequited love and a fascinating glimpse of a rarely related episode in Chinese history.

Directed by Christina Yao | Starring : Aaron Kwok, Tielin Zhang, Lei Hao, Zhicheng Ding, Jennifer Tilly | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Mexico Film Festival

最后胜利 | Final Victory

Final Victory

Patrick Tam, director of the award-winning After This Our Exile, first made his name for creating artistically acclaimed movies with his daring 1982 work Nomad. His 1987 movie Final Victory is definitely worth re-visiting. Internationally renowned director Wong Kar Wai, yet to make his directorial debut at the time, co-wrote the script of Final Victory with Patrick Tam and Winnie Yu. Also a Hong Kong New Wave director, Tsui Hark stepped down from his director’s chair to take up the male lead alongside Eric Tsang, now one of the most representative actors in Hong Kong, and sexy actress Loletta Lee. Eric Tsang stars as the shy and timid Hung who has to choose between brotherhood and love. Tsui Hark portrays triad gangster Bo, who asks Hung, his younger sworn brother, to take care of his two mistresses, Ping and Mimi. But Hung soon falls in love with Mimi, and he realizes that their romance, if known to Bo, will end their brotherhood which he also treasures.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Eric Tsang, Loletta Lee, Tien-Lang Li, Hark Tsui, Lui Kam | Presented at N/A