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The Way We Are (2008)

Tin shui wai dik yat yu ye (original title)
"The Way We Are" tells the story of a hardworking, widowed, single mother (Mrs. Cheung) and her teenage son (Ka-on) living in the troubled housing estate of Tinshuiwai, a suburb regularly featured in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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10 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mrs. Cheung
Chun-lung Leung ...
Cheung Ka-on
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cheuk Man Au ...
Mr. Chow
Idy Chan ...
Ms Tsui
Lai Hing Chan ...
Ka-on's grandma
Lai-wun Chan ...
Granny Leung Foon
Vincent Chui ...
Uncle Yung
Yo Yo Fong ...
Yee
Clifton Ko ...
Uncle Chuen
Suet-Yee Ma
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Storyline

"The Way We Are" tells the story of a hardworking, widowed, single mother (Mrs. Cheung) and her teenage son (Ka-on) living in the troubled housing estate of Tinshuiwai, a suburb regularly featured in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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Drama

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Release Date:

17 July 2008 (Hong Kong)  »

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The Way We Are  »

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1.85 : 1
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Followed by Night and Fog (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
reminding us the way we are
20 December 2008 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

What do movies tell us about what kind of people we are? Imagine the following: you are an alien from outer space, who is about to get into the space ship to visit planet Earth. Before you leave, you are instructed to learn as much as possible about the people and their culture who live on this planet. Your homework: to watch all the movies produced in the last year.

Think about what kind of image you would get from looking at what kind of movies we produce and watch as people. There is an abundance of Hollywood movies. You might think we are all American. Or that we imagine to be super heroes. So much special effects. How would our lives look like if they were like Hollywood movies? But of course, our lives are most of the time nothing like Hollywood movies.

Showing a movie that just portrays how we are would be boring. Would it not? Ann Hui doesn't think so. She provocatively titled her latest movie The Way We Are. Ann Hui is perhaps the most gifted story teller in Hong Kong, at least when it comes to film making. The same way Ozu chronicled the lives of Japanese society, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang documented the day-and-nights of Taiwanese people growing up, Ann Hui is the cultural biographer of Hong Kong.

When it comes to Hong Kong movies, most people might think of kung-fu stars, like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan or Jet Li, or perhaps triad movies, made famous by John Woo, and more recently Johnnie To. Some might even think of Wong Kar Wai. But the films of Ann Hui are those who directly go to the core of what Hong Kong is about - but this core is as most of our lives perhaps unspectacular, mundane, and banal.

Ann Hui nevertheless manages to weave an incredibly rich story detailing the mundane lives of people in a part of Hong Kong that is often sensationalized: Tin Shui Wai. It's a part of town that is considered desolate, characterized by social problems, unemployment, with high buildings (some might think of them as Hong Kong's version of "the projects").

What is worth telling here is a story from a part of society that you otherwise would never see or hear. But that they don't exist in our popular imagination doesn't mean they exist, and it doesn't mean that we shouldn't know about. Most movies have spoiled the way we "consume" them: often slick, highly visualized, with something to grab our attention every three seconds (if not less). This movie by Ann Hui needs to be slowly taken in, with patience.

That is to say, our starting assumption should be that there are really no boring people. That every person has a story to tell, and that when they try to tell you their story, the least you could do is listen to them, with the patience and respect every human being deserves. Because, that's the way we are. Ann Hui, thank you for reminding us of this important lesson.


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great movie cupcakelee
bored at the beginning, but very touching gradually, highly recommanded karlweb2002
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