Impossible spaces? Liminal space and cross-generational love in Ann Hui’s A simple life

Thornham, Sue (2020) Impossible spaces? Liminal space and cross-generational love in Ann Hui’s A simple life. In: Gwynne, Joel and Richardson, Niall (eds.) Cross generational relationships and cinema. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 215-233. ISBN 9783030400637

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This chapter examines Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui’s depiction of cross-generational love in A Simple Life (2011) in terms of its play with time and space, narrative and image, history and memory. In its foregrounding of place, the body and intimacy, and its disruption of linear history in favour of the fragmented, rhythmic, and everyday, it argues, the film operates at once as a ‘memory text’, in Annette Kuhn’s (2000) terms, and as a profoundly political critique of the public history of a now globalized Hong Kong.
Hui is a filmmaker whose work is identified with a specifically Hong Kong cultural and cinematic history, her films preoccupied by questions of space, and by the hauntings of memory. A Simple Life tells the story of the developing relationship between middle-aged and unmarried Hong Kong film producer Roger Leung (Andy Lau) and Ah Tao (Deanie Ip), the maid who has served his family for sixty years but who, following a stroke, insists on retiring to a care home. It is a relationship played out in public, transient, and liminal spaces, in which the past may exist in a relation of simultaneity with the present. Through it, Hui draws out not only a history of love and mutual dependence which Roger has repressed but also the spaces, lives, and relationships that Hong Kong’s relentless push to modernity renders invisible.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 11:49
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 01:00

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