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A Simple Life aka Tao jie [Blu-ray]
(Ann Hui, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Bona International Film Group
Video: Well Go USA
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,186,263,060 bytes
Feature Size: 20,236,228,608 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 26th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 2125 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2125 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps
Description: Roger (Andy Lau) is a successful movie
producer. Ah Tao (Deanie Ip) has worked for Roger's family
as a nanny and maid over the course of four generations.
When Roger comes home to find Ah Tao's suffered a severe
stroke and is unable to care for herself, he agrees to help
her relocate to a nursing home.
A man must care for a woman who has devoted her life to looking after him in this drama from filmmaker Ann Hui. Roger (Andy Lau) is a successful movie producer with a housekeeper, Ah Tao (Deanie Ip), who has worked for his family over the course of four generations. Ah Tao has been a nanny and maid for Roger's family for nearly all her adult life, and he looks upon her as a member of the family rather than an employee. When Roger comes home one day to discover Ah Tao has suffered a severe stroke, its' clear she's no longer up to the demands of her job, and he agrees to help her relocate to a nursing home. Roger, the only member of his family still living in Hong Kong, is eager to help, but he's unsure of just how much he's supposed to do for her and is afraid to seem neglectful; Ah Tao, on the other hand, doesn't want to be a burden to Roger, and their relationship goes through an awkward period as their roles reverse and he becomes her caregiver. Set against the backdrop of the Hong Kong film industry, Tao Jie (aka A Simple Life) features cameos appearances from such luminaries as Sammo Hung and Tsui Hark.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
If you’ve ever watched, say, a film by the Japanese master Ozu, and
wondered why nobody makes understated family dramas delivering essential
truths anymore – then this awards-laden Hong Kong production from
veteran director Ann Hui is definitely for you. Based on the true story
of the film’s producer Roger Lee and his servant, it’s essentially about
how we define family bonds, following Roger (action star Andy Lau in a
serious change of pace) and his elderly family maid Ah Tao (stalwart
character actress Deannie Yip) after she suffers a stroke.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The brilliant A Simple Life gets a North American Blu-ray release from Well Go USA. It is modest but consistent and the image quality is more than acceptable. This is only single-layered and can look a shade thin, colors are a bit subdued but there is depth and detail is abundant even if contrast can be at the lower end for the format. Skin tones seem true and there is no noise as nothing is overly dark. This Blu-ray provides a reasonable representation of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio film without being superlative in any one area. I appreciated the presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
There are two audio options (both stated in the menu as being 'original') - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2125 kbps or a less robust and simpler Dolby 2.0 channel stereo. The lossless isn't totally devoid of separations but they are minimal - simple because the film never really tests this ability. The suitably meek score by Wing-fai Law benefits from the uncompressed transfer. There are poignant silences and the film is in Cantonese with optional English subtitles.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A-locked.
Unfortunately, no supplements aside from a trailer and some previews but the film certainly deserves much more. It's a shame that Criterion didn't nab this title for their catalogue because I'd love to her the critical discussions about this modern masterwork.
February 1st, 2013
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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