Perfect Life

  • 97'
  • Hong Kong
  • 2008
Perfect Life, the second feature by Emily Tang (Tang Xiaobai), at first revolves around Li Yueying, a young woman in the cold north-east of China. In a world where no one is waiting for an untrained, inexperienced woman, she knows that in order to fulfil her dreams she will have to resort to her own stubbornness and selfishness. Her father deserted her mother and the money saved by the family is destined for her younger brother's studies. When she stops working for a shop making artificial limbs in order to take a job as a chambermaid, she attracts the attention of a mysterious criminal, Mongol.
Then in the editing, the documentary story of Jenny from Hong Kong starts to emerge. She thought she had her life perfectly worked out, but when her marriage breaks down, she also finds herself in financial problems and has to fight for the custody of her children.
The beautifully constructed film uses various styles (the grainy, dark film material of the fiction confronting the high-contrast HD documentary part ) in order to show the irreversible impact of industrialisation and capitalism in China on individual lives. We see Li Yueying one more time when the women meet briefly in a rapidly-growing town in the south of China, facing Hong Kong. A city filled with young women who, like Li Yueying, wonder every day whether their efforts will lead anywhere. (GT)

Emily Tang
Country of production
Hong Kong
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Original title
Wanmei shenghuo
Mandarin, Cantonese
Chow Keung, Jia Zhangke, Li Xiudong
Production Company
Xstream Pictures
United Star
Emily Tang
Lai Yiu-fai
Chow Keung
Production Design
Lam Ching
Sound Design
Zhang Yang, Gary Sze
Yao Qianyu, Chen Taisheng
Local Distributor
Hubert Bals Fund