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The film received a small release in Hong Kong in September 2011 in order to qualify for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. However it didn't get a wide release in the same country until March 2012. See more »
Carefully and tenderly filmed life in a home for the elderly
I saw this film as part of the Rotterdam Film Festival 2012. Relatively long with nearly 2 hours running time, but not long winded at all. How does this film maker achieve that?? Carefully filmed, very nearby the two main characters. At the same time it showed an inside view in a retirement home, and a small view over the fence into the film industry.
The retirement home at hand may look different from similar institutions in our own country, but that is only the surface. Like here in The Netherlands, it is a small population with very different people who did not choose each other, many of them leading vegetative lives. Our first main character (the "amah", a lifelong help) is still relatively active, in spite of her stroke. Being moved to the retirement home was her explicit wish, unwilling to become a burden for the family she served for 60 years. This particular situation is something we cannot imagine in our own world, but apparently it exists there.
The other main characters is the last living son of the family. Though not being blood relatives, we see the two main characters behave like mother and son. To the outside world they explain their relationship as mother and godson, or alternatively as aunt and nephew, whatever fits the situation best. Her position as an "amah" is not known to others than the immediate family members, who all seem to care for her.
The inside view in the film industry is less extensive and mostly concentrated in the beginning, with a hefty meeting about an ever growing budget that some film maker needed, and a subsequent meeting with a bank manager about the fine print in a contract that was ignored by the bank. It merely serves to portray the "son" part in the story, and to explain why he is abroad for longer periods and cannot always find time to visit the retirement home. This has the definite purpose to prevent putting him on display as someone not caring. We see the fact that he really cares confirmed in the way he brings her along to a industry screening of this newly produced film, presenting her as his aunt.
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