Hong Kong's bittersweet 'A Simple Life' debuts in Venice
Tuesday 06 September 2011
The trials of trying to age gracefully in a Hong Kong nursing home are explored in Ann Hui's bittersweet new film, "A Simple Life," which debuted at the Venice film festival.
Based on the true story of Roger Lee, a veteran Hong Kong film producer, and his domestic help Chung Chun-tao who was part of the household for 60 years, the film deals with the themes of love, respect and dignity.
Andy Lau plays Roger, who works in the movie industry and comes home one day to find out that the family servant, played by Deanie Ip, has suffered a stroke and wants to move into a home to live out her final years.
The story "instantly stuck a chord because we all have a person like Tao in our lives," Hui said ahead of the film's world premiere in Venice.
Filmed on location in the Sham Shui Po area, one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong, the film's cast includes celebrities such as martial arts experts Tsui Hark and Sammo Hung.
The residents of the nursing home "refused to move out for the filming," and in the end "became major extras" in the movie, Hui said.
"There's rarely a Hong Kong film on elderly people," she said. "Ageing is a universal theme, and I'd like to present how the Chinese treat their elders differently than Westerners," she added.
Hui, whose earlier films include "Night & Fog", "The Swordsman" and "The Postmodern Life of My Aunt," said she also chose her latest oeuvre as a way of exploring her own future.
"I'm getting old, I wanted to look at what the future might hold. After this experience I'm no longer worried about ending up in a home!" she said.
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