[36HKIFF] Big Blue Lake 大藍湖 (2011) – Hong Kong

HKIFF190

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Big Blue Lake is unlikely to make any sort of impact in the local box office, but what it does well is tell a simple yet touching story about ordinary human interactions, journey, sickness and dealing with relationships. The reason why this film actually works out fine is because it is never ambitious, but rather it is content by presenting a segment of simple country life away from the hustle and puzzle of urban Hong Kong surroundings. The fact that the film manages to star the much-missed Leila Tong and the rather active Lawrence Chou gives the film an extra edge of having recognisable stars to carry the film along. In fact, nothing really happens in the film and in a way it is operates in a similar manner as Ann Hui’s award winning The Way We Are. Sometimes, simplistic works and Big Blue Lake is a perfect example of that.

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Surprisingly the relatively unknown Amy Chung shines above the rest of the more known cast. Chung is able to depict emotions extremely well and the way she interacts with her daughter with her Parkinson illness, is both vivid and defining. Leila Tong have improved leaps and bounds as an actress, her ability to bring a rather dull character to life is nothing short of amazing to endure. In the end, Tong is able to strike a chord with the audience and pretty much carry the film from start to finish. It will be great to see Tong in a bigger production and more juicy character in the future. As for Lawrence Chou, continues to grow in statute in terms of acting and there is something about Chou that makes acting natural. While he does not shine through the role, he does an adequate job and alongside Merry Go Round (2010), this is easily one of Chou’s better performances.

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All in all, Big Blue Lake is not really about the pursue of a lake, but rather about the simple essence and defining nature of human lives. Director Jessey Tsang, being a true local of the country town, depicts the town in minute details and the result is an easing film that just eases through like life. It is never easy to direct a film that does not have much of a plot, story or attractions, but Tsang on this occasion succeeded in creating that atmosphere and making this film as close to life as possible. Basically, Big Blue Lake is a good film that deals with everyday issues, some more important than others, but nonetheless all important. While we do not know much about the characters, the film manages to engage the audience through dealing with issues like old age, forgiveness, memories, regrets and to certain extend – dreams. With a shoe-string budget, solid casting, acute direction and effective production values, Big Blue Lake is easily one of the best independent films of the year…

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Neo rates it 8/10

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