Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Tou ze
Hong Kong, 2011. Bona International Film Group, Focus Films, Sil-Metropole Organisation. Story by Yan-Lam Lee, Screenplay by Susan Chan, Yan-Lam Lee. Cinematography by Nelson Lik-wai Yu. Produced by Pui-Wah Chan, Ann Hui, Yan-Lam Lee. Music by Wing-Fai Law. Production Design by Albert Poon. Costume Design by Boey Wong. Film Editing by Chi-Leung Kwong, Manda Wai. Toronto International Film Festival 2011. Venice Film Festival 2011.
Ah Tao (Deannie Yip) has worked as a maid for four generations of one family and is now aging and tired, still looking after filmmaker Roger (Andy Lau) while he worries about her health. When she suffers a stroke, he makes her face the fact that she must retire, taking it upon himself to choose the nursing home that she will go live in. Roger visits as often as he can while Ah Tao experiences the stories and situations of the people around her, keeping up her spirits as best as possible but forced to face the inevitable decay that awaits. This heartfelt, touching drama unites two stars who are actually godmother and godson in real life, their rapport delicately beautiful in underplayed sequences (he takes her to a film premiere and she is proud of his accomplishment in such lovely, muted terms). Ann Hui directs with an even and never melodramatic hand, while the exceptional performances make for a very worthwhile experience.