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A paralyzed and hopeless Hong Kong man meets his new Filipino domestic worker who has put her dream on hold and came to the city to earn a living. These two strangers live under the same roof through different seasons, and as they learn more about each other, they also learn more about themselves. Together, they learn about how to face the different seasons of life.
I do enjoy Hong Kong cinema, and when I was given the chance to sit down and watch "Lun lok yan" (aka "Still Human"), of course I jumped at the chance. Especially since I saw that Anthony Chau-Sang Wong was starring in it.
I didn't really know what to expect when I sat down to watch "Still Human", because I hadn't read the synopsis for the movie. So I sat down with zero expectations and a blank slate.
Turns out that "Still Human" was phenomenally good. This movie really was such a beautiful story that sinks straight into the heart and it will stay with you for a long time after the end credits roll across the screen. So writer and director Oliver Siu Kuen Chan seriously deserves a lot of praise for the accomplishment that is the 2018 movie "Still Human".
The storyline in the movie is essentially experienced from two angles to the same story. On the first front you have Cheong-Wing Leung (played by Anthony Chau-Sang Wong), a handicapped Chinese tied to his wheelchair as he is paralyzed from the chest down and has little functionality in his hands. He is a bitter and downtrodden man whom have essentially given up on life and happiness and is just existing now as things are as they are. And on the other front there is Evelyn Santon (played by Crisel Consunji), a Filipina woman whom has come to Hong Kong on a domestic helper contract. She has been forced to put her dreams of photography on standby solely for the reason of making a living. These two very different individuals meet, as Evelyn comes into employment of Cheong-Wing Leung, as his domestic helper. Both of them grow, learn and enrich one another tremendously as time goes by. I will not go deeper into details, as this is a storyline that you have to experience firsthand.
The story not only deals with the relationship between employer and employee, but it also deals with how a working relationship can blossom into a close friendship. Furthermore, it is also deals with the stereotypical ways that Chinese tend to look at and treat Filipina domestic workers, and it also portrays the close knit unity there is among the Filipina overseas workers. And yes, they do band together in public areas with make-shift cardboard walls set up on Sundays. It is a very unique thing, and one you can't miss out on if you have ever been to Hong Kong.
Needless to say that Anthony Chau-Sang Wong plays phenomenally in this movie. It was a little bit odd to hear him speak this stereotypical horrible bad English (which is very common in Hong Kong, trust me I have lived and worked there as an English teacher). I wasn't familiar with Crisel Consunji, the Filipina actress, but she really managed to hold her ground and stand firmly alongside with a Hong Kong legend as Anthony Chau-Sang Wong actually is. They put on both individually great performances, but also have a magnificent on screen chemistry.
The movie also have some nice supporting roles performed by Sam Lee and Cecilia Yip, so if you are familiar with Hong Kong cinema, you really are in a for a treat here. And I must really also comment on Sam Lee's performance, because he has really matured into a good actor, and I am glad to see him having cast aside the usual goofy roles he had a tendency to portray. He really performed phenomenally in "Still Human".
Now, the movie might have you in tears towards the end, so you might want to have tissue or two within hands reach. Just a friendly word of advice to those easily moved by emotional movies.
"Still Human" runs at nearly two hours, which might seem like a long time, but the movie was nicely paced with director Oliver Siu Kuen Chan in charge, and it doesn't feel like you've sat through almost two hours once the movie comes to a very liberal ending open to interpretation. But best of all, the movie leaves you with a very good feeling once it comes to an end.
I can highly recommend that you sit down to watch "Still Human", regardless of liking Hong Kong cinema or not, or being familiar with Hong Kong culture and the Filipina domestic helper situation there. Why? Because "Still Human" is simply a beautiful and emotional movie.
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