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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钢的琴 | The Piano in a Factory

The Piano in a Factory

An offbeat ballad of friendship and devotion, The Piano in a Factory captures the tempo of changing times with quiet wisdom and a tinge of nostalgia. Steelworker Chen has a passion for music and plays the accordion in a local band with a close group of friends. When his estranged wife returns one day after years of absence, she demands a divorce and sole custody of their daughter. Chen is at a loss. He doesn’t mind divorcing a woman who has become a stranger, but he can’t bear to part with his daughter. Chen has worked hard to give her a respectable life and has taught her his love of music. When asked if she’d rather stay with her father or go with her mother, the girl gives a practical, devastating answer: she’ll go with whomever can provide her with a piano. Chen cannot afford such a luxury item, but the piano becomes his last hope to save what little is left of his family. With the help of his loyal friends and the support of his lover – the singer in his band – Chen concocts several plans to fulfill his daughter’s wish, from sneaking her into the local music school at night to drawing a fake piano. He even tries to steal the instrument from the school – anything to keep her near him. Nothing works for long, until Chen looks around his fading steel factory town and hits on the perfect solution. The Piano in a Factory is an endearing portrait of a moment when the certainty of state-run industry begins to falter. Simple in its measured and assured direction, The Piano in a Factory establishes Zhang Meng as one of the most vibrant voices in Chinese cinema today.

Directed by Zhang Meng | Starring : Qianyuan Wang, Shin-yeong Jang, Hailu Qin, Yongzhen Guo, Er-yang Luo | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

父子 | After This Our Exile

After This Our Exile

the hopeless pursuit of happiness, Aaron Kwok stars as Shing, a man who desperately attempts to hold onto the dwindling threads of his family. Once a man who had a dream, Shing has become a deadbeat gambler whose marriage is failing with wife Lin. Shing’s machoistic ego overrides any reasonable logic for change, which forces Lin to leave Shing repeatedly. After finally managing to escape, Shing is left with nothing but his son, Lok-Yun. Hoping in vain to pay back loansharks, Shing turns to his loving son, Lok-Yun, who has somehow retained his filial loyalty. In his most desperate hour, Shing forces his struggle of survival onto his son, Lok-Yun, through thievery and tests the strength of loyalty and the boundaries of trust in their father-son relationship. With each passing day, the bond of love is threatened with Shing’s unrepentant ways.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Aaron Kwok, Charlie Yeung, Kelly Lin, King-to Ng, Valen Hsu | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival

像鸡毛一样飞 | Chicken Poets

Chicken Poets

Undecided about his future, Yun Fei, an unknown young poet, goes to visit an old university friend in the suburbs of Beijing to seek his advice. He discovers that his friend has gone into business, and is successfully breeding black chickens. Discouraged, and on the point of giving up writing, Yun Fei meets a young girl who can’t see colours, who encourages him to persevere. But even this new relationship is not enough to inspire him to write. It’s at this point that he buys a pirate record whose magical powers bring him the success he’s longed for. Sudden fame does not seem to solve everything, however. This first film, a deliberately allegorical visual fantasy, focuses on the 30-something generation in China, who have to adapt to a materialistic society very different from the political utopia of their childhood.

Directed by Jing Hui Meng | Starring : Jianbin Chen, Hailu Qin, Fan Liao, Naiwen Li, Minghao Chen | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival

榴莲飘飘 | Durian Durian

Durian Durian

Durian Durian is an extension of the life of Fan, the illegal immigrant girl in Little Cheung. Fan strikes up a friendship with fellow immigrant Yan, the hardest working prostitute in town who must endure the harsh conditions of her job on one side of the border (HK) while she tries to turn her profits into a success on the other side of the border (China). One day, the pimp accompanying her gets his head smashed from behind in a random act of violence. The weapon is a strange, spiky fruit known as the “durian”. The idealistic and naive views of Hong Kong that the girls share are destroyed by differences in culture, isolated existences, and limited choices.

Directed by Fruit Chan | Starring : Hailu Qin, Wai-Fan Mak, Suet-man Mak, Xiao Ming Biao, Wai Yiu Yung | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival