Bends. 2013. Hong Kong. Written and directed by Flora Lau. In Cantonese, Mandarin; English subtitles. 97 min.
With Carina Lau, Chen Kun, Tian Yuan. Flora Lau’s classical drama, which debuted in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is a two-character piece in which each personifies the differences between Hong Kong and mainland China, and their somewhat uneasy co-existence. A wealthy Hong Kong housewife, Anna, lives a spoiled, bored life. When her husband suddenly leaves, taking the money and prestige with him, she refuses to accept her changed circumstances. Her chauffeur, Fai, who lives in an ugly barrack across the border in Shenzhen, is trying to get his wife—whose second pregnancy is a violation of the Chinese one-child policy—over the border so she can give birth in Hong Kong. With beautiful camera work by the incomparable Christopher Doyle, the film’s elegant look and languorous rhythms create an affecting reflection of the characters’ emotional isolation. As they become increasingly desperate, the sharp distinctions between their two worlds become ever clearer.