Ilo Ilo, Anthony Chen (Singapore, 2013)Pacific Film Archive Theater (2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA, United States) Map it $9
In Person/Anthony Chen
(Ba ma bu zai jia). Temperamental Jiale is a terror of a ten-year-old. At home, he viciously gives his very pregnant mother the cold shoulder. At school, he gets into fights and buries himself in a scrapbook of lottery numbers. At the end of their rope, Jiale’s parents hire a Filipina domestic worker to take care of the house, and more importantly, to keep Jiale at bay. They can’t predict that she’ll grow to know more about the Lim family than any of its actual members. Winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes and Best Picture at the Golden Horse Awards (the top prize in Chinese-language film), Ilo Ilo is the riveting quasi-autobiographical first feature by twenty-nine-year-old Anthony Chen. Set against the backdrop of the 1990s Asian financial crisis, the film slowly reveals a family on the brink, watching desperately as self-control slips from their grip. These are Chen’s pained memories of growing up in a Chinese household in Singapore. This testimony of global labor and a multiethnic Singapore continue to resonate, and the composed nakedness with which Chen renders them announces one of cinema’s most promising new talents.
• Written by Chen. Photographed by Benoit Soler. With Yeo Yann Yann, Chen Tian Wen, Angeli Bayani, Koh Jia Ler. (99 mins, In English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Tagalog with English subtitles, Color, DCP)