At a time when the outlook for women working in Hollywood appears just as bleak as ever, it’s wonderful to note that directors like Ann Hui are still working at or near the top of their game... Hui uses the real-life rescue operation brilliantly to introduce the audience to the characters who will feature prominently in the second half of the film, offer clues as to how ordinary people go about becoming underground rebels, and tie their relationships and fates together.
Like most of Hui's films, Our Time's subtlety is entrancing, withholding big dramatic moments to consider everyday behavior. This strategy speaks to Hui's tremendous gifts of directing actors and establishing a sense of place. Her characters make serious moral decisions based on their connection to where they live and how they perform simple actions.
The most absorbing drama stems from the affectionate relationship Lan has with her mother, who doesn’t take long to figure out what her daughter’s up to. Though she’s fully aware of the danger involved, Mrs Fong doesn’t oppose her, but instead tries to ease her load in ways that have dire consequences... By highlighting the value of artists and intellectuals, and the importance of protecting them, she imbues the authentic historical episode with timely universal relevance.
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