PRODS Nansun Shi, Yu Tsang, Melissa Lee, Ken Hui, Albert Tong
SCR Flora Lau
CAM Christopher Doyle
EDS Flora Lau, Alexis dos Santos, Aq Lee
PROD DES William Chang, Jean Tsoi
MUS Petrick Jonsson
PROD CO Bends Ltd.
An astonishing first film from Hong Kong director Flora Lau, Bends displays a subtle and confident maturity that earned an invitation to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Anna, a middle-aged, affluent Hong Konger, played by Hong Kong superstar Carina Lau, has her world upended when she discovers that her husband has mysteriously vanished. Though her credit cards are suspended, she maintains appearances, meeting society friends while selling off expensive artwork from her hilltop mansion in the hope of maintaining at least the outward appearance of normalcy. Her driver, Hui (mainland Chinese idol Chen Kun), has a wife and young daughter across the border in Shenzhen, China. Hui’s wife is secretly pregnant a second time, despite China’s strict family planning laws. While Hui tries to find a way to sneak her into Hong Kong to give birth, the bonds of trust and dependency between him and his employer Anna are put to the test.
Carina Lau’s perfectly pitched performance anchors the film, conveying deep hidden emotions with superbly controlled technique. And Lau has the support of an illustrious and experienced team of collaborating artists (cinematographer Christopher Doyle, designer William Chang, influential producer Nansun Shi). She creates a deceptively calm, exquisitely modulated exterior that allows the film’s passions to register so strongly precisely because they churn, just hinted at, treacherous undercurrents beneath the placid surface.
— Shelly Kraicer