China Beat Archive


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January 15, 2010 in The China Beat


Copyright 2010. Used by permission.


Seen from above, people are ants. As ants are specks in nature, so people—at least Hong Kongers—are specks in the massive infrastructure of forty- and fifty-storey highrises, the limitless concrete of train and highway networks, and the forbiddingly busy shops. Seen up close, however, face-to-face, they become souls. The camera in the masterpiece directed by Ann Hui, “The Way We Are,” switches between these two perspectives. “The Way We Are” (lit. “Day and Night in Tin Shui Wai” 天水圍的日與夜, 2008) simply shows the quotidian, extremely ordinary events in the lives of a few characters, gradually revealing how they came to be the persons they are. This results in a picture of intensely human life: neither tragedy nor comedy, both sad and happy, both lost and found.