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Love Conquers All

Love conquers all image
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
6:30 p.m. – Korean Studies Auditorium

Love Conquers All
Directed by Tan Chui Mui
Malaysia, 2006, 90 minutes
Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese w/E.S.

Ah Peng is a Chinese-Malay girl from Penang. She comes to the capital Kuala Lumpur to work in the simple food stall run by her aunt. At first she doesn’t seem to have time for the joys and dangers of the big city. She doesn’t go looking for them either. She allows her new life to come at her the way it comes. And, she realizes, the way it comes is not always the way you want.

The role of Ah Peng is played by debutante Coral Ong Li Whei. The candour of the young actress matches wonderfully the way in which Ah Peng faces up to the unexpectedly harsh life of the capital. Ah Peng starts a beautiful friendship with her younger cousin Mei. They become like sisters. Mei maintains a secret correspondence with an unknown pen pal. It looks like a playful announcement of what is awaiting Ah Peng: a love that is not what it seems and is not what it should be.

Soon after her arrival in the city, Ah Peng is noticed and followed by John. The fact that she has a boyfriend in Penang does not stop him from pursuing his fairly aggressive advances. Ah Peng doesn’t really resist, nor for very long. Even when John unashamedly explains to her how a pimp works, she seems deaf to any warning. And equally imperturbably, with a minimal use of means, the film follows Ah Peng’s fate. – IFFR

LOVE CONQUERS ALL won the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

“A delicate individual drama, which improves itself by the level and subtle relation that reality digital filming makes possible.” – Jean-Michel Frodon (chairman), Tikoy Aguiluz, Mabel Cheung, 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival

“Classical in style and structure, it is a film which speaks to the heart.” – Piers Handling (chairman), Lou Ye, Isaac Julien, Maria Kraakman, Teresa Villaverde, 36th International Film Festival Rotterdam

“The international Jury gives the award to Love Conquers All for its effective use of ambiguity and irony in constructing a surprising and subtly elliptical narrative.” – Francois Verster (chairman), Chris Fujiwara, Ana Katz, Jacqueline Veuve, Freddie Wong, 21st Fribourg International Film Festival

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