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In contemporary London, a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourns the untimely death of her son. Her world is further disrupted by the presence of a stranger. We observe their difficulties in trying to connect with each other without a common language as, through a translator, they begin to piece together memories of a man they both loved.Written by
Through plenty of crying, I've learnt to be content that I won't always be happy, secure in my loneliness, hopeful that I will be able to cope. Every year on Christmas Day I get very lonely. An incredible feeling of solitude. On this day, everything has stood still, even the trees have stopped rustling, but I'm still moving, I want to move, but I have nothing to move to, and nowhere to go. The scars beneath my skin suddenly surface and I get scared. Scared of being alone.
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This is a gem. I wouldn't have watched it unless I had been taken. (Thank you, Beryle.) If it had been on TV, I might have watched some of it, but that is the joy of cinema. You have no distractions. I thought it might be depressing; it wasn't. I thought it wasn't my sort of film; it was. Thought-provoking.
It was easy to forget that you were watching actors. The performances were that good and very moving. It was very much like a French film.
It was interesting how much back-story was left out and yet it still worked. I asked myself a few questions because I wanted to know more. (Perhaps I felt I could help.) Where were we? (North-east London/Essex?) How long had she lived in England by depending on her husband and son for all communication with the outside world? What did people do for a living? Where did the translator come from and was she being paid? Without her son would she at last break out into the world? However I realised the back-story didn't matter. It told you all you needed to know. The nub was all that mattered: an insight into communication, memory and grief. Some things have to be said and some things are perhaps best left unsaid. The characters kept asking the translator not to translate after they had said something because they had time to see the effect it would have, (something that does not happen with a common language) but even the translator could not help but get involved.
You could speculate on a happier outcome but the final scene where she drifted back to the last meeting with her son perhaps indicated it would be a while yet before she could move on.
Very, very good.
38 of 42 people found this review helpful.
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