Monday, November 4, 2013

Ilo Ilo (2013)

Ilo Ilo • 爸妈不在家 (2013)
Ilo Ilo • 爸妈不在家 (2013)
Genre: Drama
Director: Anthony Chen
Starring: Chen Tianwen, Yeo Yann Yann, Koh Jia Ler, Angeli Bayani
Language: Mandarin, English, Tagalog
Duration: 99 min.
Rating: 7.6
Chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, who has come to Singapore in search of a better life.
Ilo Ilo is the debut feature film by writer director Anthony Chen. It premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Camera d'Or (Best First Film). It is the Singaporean entry to the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Set in 1997 Singapore, and centered on a working class family and their newly hired Filipino nanny, the film explores the tensions and bonds that develop as they feel the crunch of the Asian financial crisis. Chen's simple story follows a conventional narrative, but the whole package comes together remarkably to provide a genuinely heartfelt and tender tale.

Ilo Ilo • 爸妈不在家 (2013)

The performances are impressive all around. Young Koh Jia Ler as 10-year-old Jiale, nails the role of an attention seeking child who acts out insufferably as his world drastically changes with the arrival of nanny Terry (Angeli Bayani) and also a new sibling on its way. Despite his wild and bratty behavior, underneath lies a good kid that one can easily relate with. Jian Wen Chen and Yann Yann Yeo, are perfect as working parents Teck and Hwee Leng who try their hardest to keep it together in dire financial circumstances.

While Bayani completes the cast, as a strong dignified woman who delicately handles each and every interaction no matter how hostile in order to earn her welcome. There is great chemistry between Terry and Jiale who transition from adversaries to friends in an always believable and natural manner.

Ilo Ilo • 爸妈不在家 (2013)

Tying it all together is the keen observational eye and subtle direction from Chen which immerses us in a realistic and intimate portrait full of emotion. You get the strong sense that every set detail is recollected from his own childhood memories. He also maintains a wonderful sense of humor, one particular recurring joke involving baby chicks is superbly handled.

All in all a noteworthy debut. Thoroughly moving yet always restrained enough that the nostalgia isn't over sentimental, and the feelings are never too bitter nor too sweet. The well deserved awards and accolades should ensure that Chen gets further opportunities to use his talents. I look forward to them.
Bonjour Tristesse


Unknown said...

It sounds interesting, I'd love to give it a watch. I'm just not always in the mood to see this kind of thing, I guess. On to the list it goes!

Unknown said...

Y'know I've never seen a Singaporean film before though they're my neighbor (I'm from Indonesia), but this sounds interesting Bonjour!

Unknown said...

This is a pretty straightfoward but good film overall. Here's a german movie recommandation I have for you : Die Welle (the wave); it's incredible.

Unknown said...

Looks like an interesting new Asian film!

By the Way BT, I've just nominated you for a Sunshine Blog Award:

You really earned it!

Post a Comment