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A Very Short Life (2009)
"Dyun jaam dik sang ming" (original title)

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A female police commissioner tries to investigate the murder of an 11-year-old girl at the hands of her mother.


(as Dennis S.Y. Law)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leila Tong ...
Becky Lee (as Leila Kong)
Maggie Siu ...
Police Commissioner Josephine Wong (as Maggie Shiu)
Pinky Cheung ...
Inspector Cat Lam
Samuel Pang ...
Koni Lui ...
Sherman Tang ...
Ivy (as Shermon Tang)
Wai-yan Cheung ...
Joey (as Crystal Cheung)
Yoyo Law ...
Ho Heiyi (as YoYo Law)
Siu-Fai Cheung ...
Dennis Law (as Cheung Siu Fai)
Shiu Hung Hui ...
Herman Lee (as Hui Shiu Hung)
Winnie Shum ...
Ka-Chung Lau ...
Ricky (as Lau Ka Chung)
Chi-Yan Choi ...
Jack (as Choi Chi Yan)
Hin-Wai Au ...
Yeung Wing Pui (as John Au)
Snow Suen ...
Katty (as Suen Wai Suet)


A female police commissioner tries to investigate the murder of an 11-year-old girl at the hands of her mother.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller



Official Sites:




Release Date:

19 March 2009 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A Very Short Life  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

An over-budgeted "after school special" for adults
28 November 2009 | by (a world partitioned by petty, squabbling nation-states) – See all my reviews

There are many films that deal with the sensitive subject matter of child abuse. They typically fall into two categories: those that attempt to treat the subject matter with complexity and seriousness, and those that exploit the subject matter to sensationalize and trivialize the issue. This film pretends to be the first but falls into the latter category.

Pinky Cheung plays a HK police inspector who recounts a particularly disturbing case she has been working on to friends and strangers at a Penthouse BBQ party. The case involves a young girl who died as a result of injuries suffered at her mother's hand, but was later revealed by the police autopsy to have endured repeated sexual assaults over a period of time. As the investigation unfolds, the mother's boyfriend is implicated as the culprit of the sexual abuse, as well as having made child pornography videos with the young girl. While the mother (played by Leila Tong) feigns ignorance, a police commissioner (played by Maggie Siu) who personally took charge of the case believes there are some unanswered questions and decides to torture the mother to induce answers.

This is where the film becomes "sexploitation", as we are treated to lengthy scenes where the mother is humiliated and assaulted by the police commissioner and her subordinates, who seem completely oblivious to their role in perpetuating the cycle of violence and abuse. Ironically, the cycle of abuse turns out to be the answer to the 'unanswered questions' that plagued the police commissioner (and in the process, we learn something about the motivations of the police commissioner which turns out to be stupidly simplistic).

Given that the acting here is also sub-par, there is really nothing else worth salvaging from this film. The combination of an elementary moral message and the film's category III rating makes this an "after school special" for adults.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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