A Simple Life

Arrow Films/Ann Hui/2011/Hong Kong

Running Time: 118 minutes

Region Code: Region B

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Original Aspect Ratio)

Video: 1080p High Definition

Audio: Cantonese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Language: Cantonese

Subtitles: Optional English

Inspired by true events, Ann Hui’s sensitive and highly poignant tale, affectively written by Susan Chan, and featuring the tremendous pairing of Andy Lau and his real-life godmother Deanie Ip, proves one of the most moving and beautifully attained achievements of recent times and has deservedly swept the boards at the Hong Kong Film Awards and various other International awards ceremonies since its 2011 debut at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.

Based on the heartwarming, real-life story of film producer Roger Lee, the film depicts the moving relationship between producer Roger Leung (Lau), the young master of a large family (and sole remaining family member still residing in Hong Kong), and ‘Sister Peach’, Chung Chun-Tao (Ip), the dutiful housemaid who raised him, who, after 40-years of loyal service, is forced into retirement and subsequently a nursing home after suffering a stroke. As the days slowly while away, Tao’s health inevitably begins to decline, and as she and Roger begin to adapt to the new life, their respective roles are subtly and effectively reversed, as Roger is gently and poignantly transformed into the role of the loyal, devoted carer to an increasingly ailing old friend.

The chemistry and interaction between Lau and Ip is what truly elevates this film to another level, adding a greater level of depth and meaning, and where the film really comes into its strength is that, although it is undeniably moving and immersive, it effectively refrains from sentimentality and obvious melodrama, instead beautifully conveying emotion and melancholy through two layered, realistic and truly outstanding central performances, in brilliant contrast to the cleverly simplistic, subtle and ultimately phlegmatic dialogue.

In what was originally intended to be the final directorial work of the now 65-year old Ann Hui, she delivers a wonderful, beautifully paced and impeccably staged piece of cinema, however, due to the overwhelming success of the film, she has now decided to continue her career, and, should she continue to produce works of a similar outstanding quality to ‘A Simple Life’, then it is undeniably a very welcome piece of news for the world of cinema.

This outstanding blu-ray presentation from Arrow films (in association with Spirit Entertainment), with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1080p transfer, delivers stunning results and offers a gorgeous, clear transfer of this wonderfully poignant and beautifully realised film. The blu-ray presentation offers excellent levels of crisp definition and detail, strong levels of contrast and a rich and very well saturated colour palette. The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track fares equally as strong, with clean, natural sounding dialogue and an effective presentation of the suitably emotive score. However, it is worth noting that the dialogue is often delivered at quite a pace, and though the subtitles are clear and well translated, you have to maintain focus as they appear and disappear quite quickly!

Special Features:

Theatrical Trailer

The Making of A Simple Life

Overall:

Ann Hui’s emotional, affecting and beautifully accomplished film fully deserves the countless acclaim and accolades it has ultimately received, and combining two outstanding central performances, beautiful cinematography and a wonderfully constructed, and at times truly heartbreaking screenplay, ‘A Simple Life’ proves one of the most thought-provoking, significant and rewarding experiences of recent times.

Release date: 19 November, 2012

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