Ilo Ilo

Ilo Ilo  Movie Poster 1099014650

Director: Anthony Chen
Cast: Yeo Yann Yann, Angela Bayani, Koh Jia Ler, Jo Kukathas, Tian Wen Chen
Genre: Drama
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Singapore 2013 99 mins.
Winner Camera d'Or 2013 Cannes International Film Festival
Rating: ****

'A superb debut feature - full of warmth, love and charm.'

Singapore 1997, the height of the Asian financial crisis. The middle class Lim family hire Teresa/Terry ( Angeli Bayani), a Filipino live in maid for general chores and to look after 10 year old Jiale (Koh Jia Ler), the apple of his mother's eye but with every trait that makes him the spoilt kid from hell. Hwee (Yeo Yann Yann), the mother, a career woman is pregnant, short tempered and stressed out, Teck (Tian Wen Chen), the father's a salesman trying to sell 'unbreakable glass' and Jiale's on the sideline stirring it - it's a dysfunctional group with a few secrets. As typical of the Singaporean maid - family relationship, Terry's passport is confiscated and she's 'owned' by the Lims.

Things often don't turn out as expected. Jiale and Terry bond and the strength of the relationship antagonises Hwee who she sees the maid replacing her in the son-mother relationship.

It's a remarkable debut feature full of warmth and love and is loosely based on the directors own childhood memories . The characters are brilliantly developed and all give superb performances but it's Koh Jia Ler as Jiale who's outstanding. It's a wonderful gem of a movie.

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Release date: 
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 00:15