A Hong Kong drama that felt more Japanese than a Chinese was this weeks Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre Film Club offering. A Simple Life (2012) showing for one night only, turned out to be a real treat. Based on the true-life experiences of Roger Lee, the producer of the film, it’s about a retainer who had served the same upper middle class family as housekeeper and nanny for 60 years. Ah Tao now has only one member of the family to look after as most of the others have emigrated to America. Roger Leung, a busy producer working in the Chinese film industry, still relies on the services of Ah Tao for all his house hold tasks until one day he returns home to find that the old servant has suffered a stroke and has been rushed to hospital where she announces that she wants to retire and spend the remainder of her life in a nursing home. Its now that Roger realises how much he relied on Ah Tao and more importantly how fond of her he was. A beautiful loving ‘mother and son’ relationship develops between the two, and it’s this relationship that forms the backbone of our film.
Our host for the evening was Julie McMoran who introduced the film telling us a little about the Hong Kong/Chinese film industry and how movie making in Hong Kong had changed considerable since the 1997 hand over of the island to China. The fear is that China will excerpt more and more control over Hong Kong’s film output and eventually take over its complete film industry. Also the takeover has presented problems with censorship with the mainland imposing more political control.
She also informed us that Ann Hui directed the film who has worked in the industry for 30 years making 26 films but is little known in this country through lack of exposure. 65 year-old Hui originally studied at the London Film School for two years before she returned to Hong Kong to take up a post as assistant to the Chinese film director King Hu before becoming a vanguard of Hong Kong’s New Wave in the 1970’s a movement that draw attention to realist contempory social matters.
|A beautiful loving relationship gradually develops.|
|The film swept the Hong Kong Film Awards.|