The Chinese title of the film means "mother and father are not home." Its international version refers to a Philippine city, Iloilo, from which Teresita Sajonia came to Singapore in the 1980s. Teresita was the prototype of the character played by Angela Bayani, an actress and the muse of Lava Diaz and Adolfo Alix Jr. The woman, employed by Chen's family, was taking care of their house and children until the first serious Asian financial crisis has economically strained the Singaporean middle class. At that time, Sajonia was dismissed.
The director shows the story of a simple Philippine maid using meaningful visual metaphors. The script, based on his own memories, talks about the gradual acclimatization of a woman, who took over the parent’s role in the household, and the changing relations between the employers and employees, children and adults, strangers and locals, in the face of emotional and financial hardships. And, above all, about friendship and the tragedy of parting.
Born in 1984, Singapore. Graduate of School of Film and Media Studies (Singapore) and National Film and Television School (Great Britain), as well as Berlinale Talent Campus and Golden Horse Film Academy. His short films were shown at international festivals – "Ah Ma" received a Special Mention in the short film competition at Cannes IFF (2007). "Ilo Ilo'" his full feature debut, received Caméra d'Or award at Cannes (2013).
2007 Ah Ma / Grandma
2009 Hotel 66
2012 Karung Guni
2013 Ilo Ilo/ Ba ma bu zai jia