A GEM FROM HONG KONG — QUIET BUT SHATTERING
A Simple Life Ann Hui 2011
I am charmed and moved by this film in which nothing happens — and yet everything does. I won’t call it slow. You can’t call it slow. But, like its title, it is simple.
A woman who has been the family maid for more than sixty years has a stroke and must move to a residence which is also part nursing home. All her life she was caring for a family now moved to America. Only the bachelor son has remained behind, and she has continued caring for him as housekeeper and cook. Now, in her illness, he needs to care for her — and he does; and he comes to know and admire her.
Ah Tao has been a servant all her life, and it is important to her not to step beyond that role. But she is a person of genuine self-esteem and determined independence. Deannie Yip as Ah Tao is excellent as are Andy Lau as Roger the bachelor son and Fuli Wang as his mother, temporarily returned toHong Kong. Everyone is the cast is fine, even in the smallest roles. It is hard to believe that the repulsive, heartbreaking, hilarious nursing home residents are only actors.
Have you ever met a Chinese film you didn’t like?
* * * * * * * * *
FROM ANNIE DILLARD: “…there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. When I see this way, I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera, I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut.” (from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, 1974)
* * * * * * * * * *
JUDE LAW TO CAMELOT
According to Entertainment Weekly (7/31/15) summer 2016 will bring a decidedly 2016 King Arthur. The good news is that there is a character named Vortigern and Jude Law plays him.
NEXT Friday POST SEPTEMBER 11
See you at the movies,