Genre – World Cinema > Drama
Run Time – 100 minutes
Certificate – 12
Country – Malaysian
Awards – 27 Wins & 13 Nominations
Amazon – £10.70 DVD £7.29 Amazon Marketplace
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The dislike of Immigrants in the west is generally based on skin color and stereotypes where is in the Far East its based on social class of the countries the immigrants are coming in from. We need to feel better than other people to get through the day and so find our targets, hence the bizarre bullying of red headed kids at school. In Singapore, the country in this movie, the government is pretty tough on migrants and Singapore utilizes their small island state. In the bad old days pretty much every migrant worker used to have to leave the island at 6pm unless they have digs in the country. Singapore recently cut the limit to just 100,000 in the construction industry because so many foreign workers were coming into to build the forest of skyscrapers as Singaporeans didn’t like the work as it’s was too dangerous. It often happens when a poor country gets richer the locals no longer want to do the crap jobs. But governments can’t resist stoking up resentment of them to win votes even though they know how critical migrant labor is, especially as they run the healthcare and general services to the locals that are complaining the most.
Ilo Ilo is a region of the Philippines, the country where the bulk of the domestic workforce comes from in Singapore. Many young women leave their homeland and families to take care of middle-class Asians and their families as maids and nannies, the irony being the Filipinas have to leave their kids with relatives back home to earn money to send home and pay for their kids and family. The Catholic Philippine island chain have a very high birth rate and so lots of families send money home to and the next generation of maids popping out every hour.
Yann Yann Yeo ... Hwee Leng
Tian Wen Chen ... Teck
Angeli Bayani ... Terry
Jia Ler Koh ... Jiale
Peter Wee ... Discipline Master
Jo Kukathas ... School Principal
Naomi Toh ... English Teacher (Mrs Ong)
It’s the 1990s and recession is pounding South East Asia after the tech bubble has burst. Lots of people in the region bought shares in the companies and have blown their savings. Middle-class couple Yann Hwee Leng (Yann Yann Yeo) and husband Teck (Tian Wen Chen) are being buffeted by the downturn, Hwee spending most of the day as an office clerk typing out redundancy notices at her company.
Teck has just lost his job in sales and not about to tell the wife, Hwee 8 months pregnant and has just employed a Filipina maid to help out around the house and care for their tear away 7-year old Jiala (Jia Ler Koh), just starting school and causing mayhem. The Discipline Master (Peter Wee) and School Principal (Jo Kukathas) are fed up of ringing his parents for the latest misdemeanor, be it his obsession with lottery numbers or beating up the bullies, amongst other things.
Teck is secretly smoking again and working as a security guard on lates, nowhere near enough to pay the rent on their decent apartment. After a sticky start the maid begins to bond with the kid and jealousy rears its ugly head between mom and maid. She doesn’t much care for that and the snobbery and racism is subtle but there. As that relationship grows and the recession stress increases raises something has got to give between al three.
Ilo Ilo was the official submission of Singapore to the 2014 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category and worthy of it. It cost just $700,000 to make and the cast excellent in their roles, director Anthony Chen clearly knowing his subject matter and the tensions in the region. It’s as much as story about class and prejudice as relationships as we dissect the family unit and the tectonic plates rubbing together in that enclosed apartment ready to break it apart. Love is pretty fragile when it comes to the money and security not coming from the man anymore. A lot of countries don’t have welfare systems and you have to work or you are out on the street, putting huge pressures on the breadwinners. The suicide rate is at its highest in the Far East as men take out life assurance knowing a big payout after their death is the only way to really care for the often extended family when it all goes wrong, 30,000 men a year killing themselves in Japan alone. It’s even worse in South Korea, the new Japan.
It’s an interesting film on the subject of Asian hierarchies and social class and although very talky (with subtitles) the relationships between the adults and kids is interesting to study. We recognize their traits in our only family dynamic but adding a subservient maid from a country deemed less than yours is somewhat alien to us. When I was working in South Africa it was normal for nearly all white families to have maids and the number one employment for black South Africans, how ever poor the white’s status is. Something hard to get your head around. I worked in a hotel there and had two black lads grafting alongside me being paid half my wage for the same gig. I was not impressed with that and we pooled our wages and split the cash three ways.
As I say it’s well acted and although pitched as a relatively serious drama on the recession and family pressures there are moments of humor and solid writing. The class and social conflict between the Filipina maid and the rather horrid Singaporean lady of the house are two mothers at the end of the day and it dawns on her that she is dumping her kid on a woman who cant see her own kid as she is being paid peanuts 1000 miles away to look after a horrid middle-class Singaporean woman, married to a useless husband. It’s kind of a depressing reality check on what relationships really are. It’s giving up on the freedom youth and committing yourself to someone on a chemical reaction.
Imdb.com – 7.3/10.0 (2.275votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 85% critic’s approval
Dailytelegraph.com –‘ A great, understated film, natural in every way: in its writing, its acting, its lighting, its camerawork’.
NYTimes –‘This remarkably terse movie doesn’t waste a word or an image. It refuses to linger over each little crisis its characters endure. And its detachment lends a perspective that widens the film’s vision of people reacting to events beyond their control’.
Portland Oregan Times –‘With evocative performances, especially from the two women, and a nicely modulated sense of nostalgia, Ilo Ilo marks the emergence of a promising new cinematic voice’.
Variety Magaine –‘Anthony Chen is remarkably astute in his depiction of the class and racial tensions within such a household, his accessible style enabling the characters’ underlying decency and warmth to emerge unforced’.
New Yorker –‘None of this is pushed into comic relief—the filmmaker lets his drama play out with gentleness — and you smile at the many evolutions’.
LA Times –‘Ilo Ilo is writer-director Anthony Chen's first film, but breathtaking intimacy in storytelling is already second nature to him’.
Last night I finished digging my way through the first series of Da Vinci's Demons - I know that there's been a whole second series since but that's on the list to watch next.
As much of the show is filmed locally (i.e. the South Wales coast) I thought I would give Da Vinci's Demons a whirl. It looked like my sort of thing so I added to the ol' Sky+ - and then forgot I recorded it. When I did watch the damn thing (when I realised that I had two series of it stored up,) I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
This is not a historical drama as such. It's more a real-world version of Game of Thrones, with real characters from Renaissance Italy making up the parts of the scheming politicians etc. But there's a strong supernatural element (trances, mystics, tarot, etc.) wound up in all of the conspiracy.
The main character is Leonardo Da Vinci - a young man caught in the machinations of the Medici family and the Pope in Rome - who wants desperately to find out just who dear old mum actually was. To do that he is set on a quest to find the mysterious Book of Leaves, with all of the heaven and hell mystic-y-ness that comes with it.
To be fair, the series keeps to the heart of Leonardo - a slightly flaky, slightly temperamental genius - while smudging the detail into a compelling intricate plot.
The whole setting (the Welsh landscape augmented with some extremely good CGI to make it look Florence-y) and the costumes, set design, etc., combine to give it a steampunk feel, not unlike the recent BBC Musketeers series with all the leather and flourishes. It works extremely well.
There's a bunch of gore, sex, and swearing, with much graphic-ness and nudity everywhere, a la popular recent series such as The Borgias and Game of Thrones. Obviously, if the thought of gory wounds and Lorenzo De Medici having sex in a stable offends you or makes you feel squeamish, this ain't the series for you.
It's compelling though - pace-y, action-packed, well-acted. In short, it's what you want in a drama. Give it a whirl.
Lots of great reviews for NCIS. I used to enjoy this programme when it was on Channel 5. Can't watch it now as, since it's transfer to FX, the sub titles have been removed and I am profoundly deaf. Grossly unfare.
FX has to be one of my favourite Sky channels: it dispenses with the dreadful soaps and God-awful reality TV that floods our screens over here, and delivers some of the finest crime drama and comedy from the U.S. Seeing as they unequivocally do drama better than us, it's nice to see a whole channel devoted to shows that I'm a big fan of. FX are also a TV network in America, making shows such as The Shield and Nip/Tuck, so the programming consists largely of their own content. Here are my favourite shows that regularly appear on FX:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer = we all know it. It's Joss Whedon's classic vampire show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and is a huge cultural milestone of the TV medium. Witty and very entertaining.
Family Guy = although it has waned a bit recently, this is still a bitingly funny series and FX frequently air the older episodes which is refreshing given their superior quality.
The Shield = possibly FX's best home-grown show, this is a gritty, intense and supremely well-acted show about police corruption in California. Certainly one of the best TV shows ever made and one that's worth catching from the beginning (so maybe not watching on this network!)
Nip/Tuck = a slick and glossy show that is nevertheless insanely addictive and well acted. The quality of its production is only matched by how thoroughly, gloriously ridiculous it is.
The Wire = often cited as the best show of all time, this is another gritty and intelligent crime drama that unfolds with the scale of a novel. It takes a bit of getting into, and despite not being owned by F/X (HBO made it), they are one of the few networks to champion it so I praise them.
FX was launched in the UK on January the 12th 2004. It was orginally called FX289 although it has since been re-branded as FX. A High Definition version of the channel was launched April the 28th 2008.
FX stands for Fox Extended & this is a channel owned by 20th Century Fox. In the UK it shows both Fox & Non Fox produced shows. There have been lots of shows that make their UK Debut on this channel including Dexter, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Generation Kill & the american version of Life On Mars. You can also usually catch some episodes of Family Guy pretty much every day of the week.
One complaint that I did have with the channel previously was that the HD channel used to run one week behind. Episode 2 of a series would be on the main channel while Episode 1 would be being shown on the HD channel. This was pretty pants & meant that I didn't use the HD channel although this has since been resolved & the HD channel is usually up to date with the Single Definition version.
I find that I watch this channel quite a lot. Especially in the 10.00 p.m Friday Night time slot in which Dexter, True Blood & Life on Mars all fall. The channel is the home of some great drama programmes, some of which are very popular. I recommend giving it a go.
Home of top american shows, FX uk is a great channel if you like top comedy and dramas.
FX has introduced me to amazing shows like breaking bad, dexter and generation kill. And of course theres family guy on there aswell.
The shows currently on FX UK include:
Mon - Thu 9.00pm
Mon - Thu 9.30pm
Sundays after midnight
Life on Mars
Wednesdays 10.00pm from Nov 11
John from Cincinnati
Sundays after midnight
Mondays after midnight
Murder By The Book
Thursdays after midnight
Tuesdays after midnight
King of the Hill
Mon - Fri 12.00pm
Fridays after midnight
Tuesdays after midnight
Mon -Fri 11.00am
Mon - Fri 5.00pm
Mon - Fri 4.00pm
Tour of Duty
Mon - Fri 3.00pm
Thursdays after midnight
Mon - Fri 6PM from Nov 9th
Dexter is the main show i watched on this channel which is about a blood splatter expert who is also a serial killer at night. Great show and hopefully the 4th series will be on the channel soon as its out in america at the moment.
Generation kill is another show i watched on here which is based on a true story about a journalist who travelled to irag with the american marines. This is full of explosive action and im sure they spent a huge budget on this as its very realistic and was loed by real marines from the US.
The advert breaks arent too long on here either like some channels, with a few of the adverts showing us what similar shows are coming up and when, with a little preview.
Another show i loved on here was breaking bad, this was about a science teacher who developed cancer but didnt tell his wife, he then began to make crystal meth to sell on the streets to fund his death for his wife when he passed away. Again the 2nd series has been out in the US but not over here and again i hope FX UK show this soon.
There are comedy shows on here aswell such as family guy and the signal. Great laughs from both of these and im sure there are a few other comedy shows around aswell on the channel.
Overall a well presented channel with great shows, just wish they showed some of them a little quicker and not so far behind the US.