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Opening Date
19 Oct 2018
97 mins
Mandarin with English & Chinese subtitles
Jie Liu
Jingfei Guo, Hong-Chi Lee, Yanjun Wang, Yang Mi
When 20-year-old Meng (Yang Mi), who was abandoned at birth because of a genetic disorder sees a child facing the same fate, she finds herself trying to persuade the child’s parents to reconsider and goes to extreme lengths to save the child. The stakes are high, not only for this newborn teetering between life and death, but for our heroine, whose own humble life is suddenly galvanized with purpose.
Baby, executive-produced by Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien, sweeps you up in its propulsive drama and doesn't let go until its conclusion.
By Say Peng  11 Oct 2018
Liu Jie's 'Baby' is a brilliant, compassionate, and responsible piece of social realist cinema and features an outstanding performance from popular singer-actress Yang Mi.
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Written and directed by Chinese filmmaker Liu Jie (‘Hide and Seek’) and executive produced by Taiwanese maestro Hou Hsiao Hsien, ‘Baby’ is an unsettling social realist critique of the social system that enables disabled children to be frequently abandoned or left to die in China. The film’s ironic Chinese title, “Baobei,” means “treasure”, commonly used to describe children. ‘Baby’ was well received by critics following its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.

The film single-mindedly follows 18-year-old Meng, assuredly and committedly played by the barely recognizable popular singer-actress Yang Mi, who goes to extreme lengths to save a disabled newborn baby left to die by her father, Xu. While working her shift as a janitor in a hospital, Meng overhears that Xu intends to discharge his baby daughter from the hospital despite the child’s dire need of treatment. The father hopes that his daughter will just pass away without hassle.  

Upon learning of this, Meng, who was born with birth defects similar to the baby, springs into action, intent to save the baby from certain death. She reports the father to the police, but even the authorities are unable to intervene because the law grants parents full legal custody over the lives of their children. But instead of painting a black-and-white hero-versus-villain portrait of Meng and Xu, the latter is sympathetically depicted as a conflicted father who fears the prospects of his daughter’s future. It is this wholly compassionate and empathetic quality of ‘Baby’ that makes it a standout film.

Shot in an unassuming documentary style reminiscent of social realist filmmakers such as Britain’s Ken Loach and Belgium’s Dardenne Brothers, ‘Baby’ more than earns its place in the canon of great social realist cinema.
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