Emily Mody - We, The Dead (Aqérat) (Calgary Film 2018)

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 05:00 PM

We, The Dead (Aqérat) (Calgary Film 2018)

Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

We, The Dead (Aqérat) directed by Edmund Yeo, is a feature length crime film. The story follows a young women named Hui Ling (played by Daphne Low). Ling’s goal is to make it to Taiwan. She works at a restaurant to save money while she lives on the Thai-Malaysian border. After her roommate and her roommate’s abusive boyfriend run away with Ling’s savings, Ling is desperate for money. She turns to her boss who offers her quick cash if she works for him as a human trafficker. As she learns more about her new trade and witnesses some deeply heinous acts against the Rohingya immigrants, Ling meets Wei (played by Kahoe Hon). Wei believes that Ling is a woman from his past and he quickly becomes fascinated with her.

This film is a portrait of loyalty and morality in an unforgiving social climate. The film is characterized by a slow plot progression perpetuated by Ling’s self discovery. There are some beautiful and interesting cinematographic moments in relation to colour, contrast, and saturation. I believe many of these moments were utilized to emphasize a sense of balance and synchronicity between the characters. There are also various moments where the images conveyed are very nearly photographs. The characters become unnaturally still while the world continues to move around them They are frozen in time, death personified, while the world fails to recognize the unnatural quality of their stillness. It is in these moments that I was moved by how deep the sadness and loneliness seemed to penetrate these characters.

We, The Dead (Aqérat) is similar to another film entitled Fallen Angels directed by Wong Kar-wai. Fallen Angels is a crime film that is characterized by two distinct stories. One of which follows a hitman (played by Leon Lai) who is hoping to get out of the business and his female partner (played by Michelle Reis). The second story follows Ho Chi-mo (played by Takeshi Kaneshiro), a delinquent who breaks into people’s businesses after hours and forcibly sells their goods. He ends up becoming close to an acquaintance named Charlie (played Charlie Yeung). They pursue ridiculous high jinks trying to ease each other’s pain. Both Aqérat and Fallen Angels, are considered drama/crime films. Aqérat is probably markedly darker in content and tone however. While I realize that Fallen Angels was probably not made for a mainstream, commercial audience I think that it is markedly more successful in this way. Aqérat lends itself to a more experimental feel and does not shy away from promoting a pace that would leave standard Marvel film lovers cringing. 

The length of the film is 106 minutes long and will be screened in its entirety in Mandarin with English subtitles. This film contains physical and emotional abuse.

I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a reasonable balance between a more experimental style and a very rich story.

We, The Dead (Aqérat) will be screening as a part of the 19th Calgary International Film Festival 2018 on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 7:40pm and Saturday, September 29th, 2018 at 2:40pm. Both screenings will be taking place at Eau Claire Cinemas.

Calgary Showtimes: We, The Dead (Aqérat) >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.