Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday's Double Bill: "A Separation" & "A Simple Life"

To underscore how much being able to watch this Iranian film meant to me, I have to thank the Academy Award's fame and for giving it the nod for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, as a result, bringing it to our shore. The film's title emits a subdued, deliberately undermining ring, but does not distract this audience, rather draws his attention to its main theme. The film director and writer, Asghar Farhadi, shows knife-edge perception and observations of a society divided by social status (the rich and the poor), generation gap (parents and child), gender and perhaps culture (East and West). I would have named it "The Great Divide" for dramatic effect - that is, in a broader sense, after the difference too wide to be bridged between two individuals. The style of story-telling is not something new though, relying on the various characters giving their own versions of a most unfortunate happening, projecting a Rashomon effect like a snowball growing larger as it gains momentum.

Now, this is another highly acclaimed film, which surprisingly, to many of my friends and myself included, gave Andy Lau his second Golden Horse's Award for Best Male Actor. Though, Ann Hui's understated direction of this social-conscious film (on the greying issue in Hong Kong) and veteran actress Deanie Ip's unforgettable performance were the standouts here, Andy Lau, like KL said, gave a natural, restrained performance (pretty much like himself as a producer of the film) to blend into the backdrop (perhaps a monumental accomplishment) of a self-sacrificing warmth in the purity that is the life of Tao Jie, unlike any roles he tackled before, not just as a silent observer, but a grateful (from the core) man who has received much and in turn, decides to give back to his house-keeper near her life's end. His realisation of how much Tao Jie meant to him is gradual, almost immeasurably tender.

P.S.: It has been a long time since I reviewed movies, and the rustiness can't be clearer to me.

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