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A Simple Life

桃姐 (Tou ze)
Hong Kong 2011. Dir: Ann Hui. 118 min. DCP

International awards, universal acclaim, exceptional box-office receipts: veteran auteur Ann Hui’s A Simple Life has proven itself to be the little Hong Kong film that could. This deceptively simple story about Ah Tao (Deanie Ip, crowned Best Actress at Venice), longtime family servant to the film’s real-life producer Roger Lee (Andy Lau), is raised to remarkable heights by its rich cultural detail and Ann Hui’s perceptive, low-key direction. One of the year’s top domestic hits, A Simple Life collected statuettes at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, and Screenplay. “An exquisite and wise moment of celluloid portraiture” (Trevor Johnston, Time Out). “Venice was right to name Ip Best Actress — her performance here is one of the best by any actress in 2011, Hollywood included” (Roger Clarke, Sight & Sound). Screening courtesy of Distribution Workshop Limited.

 

REVIEWS

"In its understated, slightly melancholy way considers the varieties of affection and love."

New York Times | full review

"Gingerly peels layer after layer of sharp insights into the dynamics of familial love, using compassion and droll humor as its tools. Its strength is that it manages to tap genuine emotion without succumbing to sentimentality."

Village Voice | full review