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“After This Our Exile” by Patrick Tam Term Paper

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Updated: Oct 14th, 2021

Before we start analyzing the main peculiarities of the film “After This Our Exile”, it is of crucial importance for us to give at least a brief summary of Hong Kong cinematography in general. Overall, it can be characterized as a very curious mixture of Chinese drama and Hollywood tradition. Some art historians believe that Hong Kong cinema will eventually lose its identity, but such films as “After This Our Exile” prove that this tradition still has very strong roots because the combination of Western and Eastern art will always appeal to the public.

The film is directed by Patrick Tam, who took a very long leave as a director; in point of fact, the interval between “After This Our Exile” and his previous film is almost seventeen years. The movie can be classified as a deeply psychological drama, executed in the best traditions of Chinese and European cinematography. It should be borne in mind that Patrick Tan has always been renowned for his realistic portrayal of life. “After This, Our Exile” is a bright example of his style.

The plot of the film concentrates on the attempts of the person (Chow) to hold his family together. The father is gradually sinking in the eyes of the public; his wife Ling intends to leave him because she does such a wretch of a husband. The only thing that prevents her from doing it is the son, King-to Ng. However, after a while, she decides to leave them. Thus, the father and the son are left to their own devices. It is worth mentioning that originally the name of this film was translated into English as “The Father and Son”.

The film explores such aspects of human relationships as the interrelations between parents and children. We can see that Lok-Yun is still able to forgive his father, even despite all his drawbacks and imperfections. The father is imposing some of his duties on his son, and this can entirely sever ties between them. Chow forces him soon to steal, and it practically destroys their relationships. The relationships between these two characters show that children give the parents a chance for “survival” (spiritually, of course). They try to reawaken our best qualities; however, Chow does not seem to realize it. However, we are able to feel some sympathy for this character.

As regards the main peculiarities of the plot, we should say that it is seemingly simple. However, in terms of its structure, it is very interesting because every scene only attracts our attention to what the makers of the movie were trying to express. In other words, the scenes do not develop actually develop the plot; they only explore the relationships from various standpoints. At first glance, it may seem that some of them are superfluous and should be cut out, however such it will only diminish the net effect of the movie. Overall, one should always remember that a good work of art is always integral, and it is impossible to leave something out.

Speaking about the actors, we should say that they have managed to live through the lives of their characters, especially Aarong Kwok. He has successfully turned into Chow, an appalling character. The person who will stick at nothing to achieve his goal. His rude attitude towards his wife and son practically make us despise him.

Ian Iskandar is an extremely realistic role of an unhappy son who is constantly abused by his father. Charlie Young shows how a tired or probably exhausted wife can look like.

Realism is the most distinctive feature of this film. Probably, it is due to the fact that Patrick Tam was strongly influenced by the European tradition of cinematography. As a rule, Chinese cinema gives preference to surrealistic motifs. However, as we have already mentioned, Hong Kong cinema has always tried to incorporate these different styles.

Another example of realism in this film is that every character is unique and stereotypical at the same time. Certainly, such kind of behaviour is not unprecedented, and children often have to suffer for their parents. However, the actors breathed life into them and made them almost unforgettable.

In addition to that, we can say that the makers of the film leave it for us to judge the morality or immorality of the main characters, especially the father, who seems to have no concern for the well-being of his son.

The movie has a very convincing musical illustration. Each piano piece is aimed at reflecting the emotional state of the main characters. Each component of the film serves its purpose and enhances the overall effect of the film.

Thus, we can arrive at a conclusion that “After This, Our Exile” is a brilliant example of Hong Kong cinematography, which involves both European and Chinese principles. The most distinctive feature of this film is realism practically in every detail.

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