Set during the 1990s financial meltdown in Singapore, Ilo Ilo chronicles what seems like a year in the lives of a family of three and their newly employed Filipino maid, examining in particular the bond she develops with their already unruly son and the further strain her presence as a stranger puts on the family’s already strained ties.
Director: Anthony Chen. Singapore, 2013. Language: Mandarin. 99 minutes. Cert: 12A.
Ilo Ilo is filled with sweetness, humour and humanity: so assured and accomplished that it’s hard to believe this is a first feature. What an impressive debut from 30-year-old Singaporean writer-director Anthony Chen, who graduated four years ago from Britain’s National Film and Television School. In its gentleness, its shrewd psychological insight and unforced accumulation of detail, his film is something to be compared with the work of Taiwanese director Edward Yang. – The Guardian ****
Starring: Angeli Bayani, Yeo Yann Yann, Chen Tianwen, Koh Jia Ler