Take Out

Take Out

Director: Sean Baker, Tsou Shih-Ching

Cast: Jeng-Hua Yu

     
 

Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou make their feature debut as writer/directors with the documentary-style DV drama Take Out. Korean-American actor Charles Jang stars as Ming Ding, a Chinese illegal immigrant struggling to make ends meet working as a deliveryman at a take-out restaurant. His day begins when he is rousted, beaten, and threatened with more violenceSee more details below

Overview

Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou make their feature debut as writer/directors with the documentary-style DV drama Take Out. Korean-American actor Charles Jang stars as Ming Ding, a Chinese illegal immigrant struggling to make ends meet working as a deliveryman at a take-out restaurant. His day begins when he is rousted, beaten, and threatened with more violence by two men over an 800-dollar debt, which he incurred because he felt obligated to send some money back to his wife and child in China. Ming scrapes together what he can. His co-worker, Young (Jeng-Hua Yu), lends him some money, and offers to forgo his deliveries for the day so Ming can make more cash. The film follows the stoic Ming, who speaks little English, over the course of the day as he interacts with the cooks and restaurant manager (Wang-Thye Lee, an actual employee of the restaurant where Take Out was filmed), and races in the rain on a multitude of deliveries on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, interacting with a broad spectrum of New Yorkers. The filmmakers made Take Out on an extremely low budget, even by indie standards, using the Internet to find their cast, and shooting at the restaurant during business hours with a skeleton crew. Take Out was shown at the 2004 New York Asian American Film Festival and at the 2004 Nashville Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Take Out is a fine example of digital video's virtues. This fascinating, sharp-witted, and moving drama would probably never have been funded on a 35 mm budget, and its bare-bones black-and-white videography and fly-on-the-wall improvisatory feel exemplify DV's ability to capture all manner of everyday human interaction with intimacy and immediacy. Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou, who co-wrote and co-directed Take Out, use a deceptively simple setup and a documentary style to fully immerse the audience in Ming Ding's (the excellent Charles Jang) world, and it's a way of life that few viewers have probably taken the time to contemplate. Anyone who doesn't work in a service job is more likely to identify (or try to resist identifying) with the deliveryman's varied Upper West Side customers. These interactions are important to the movie's viewpoint, but at its core is what goes on inside the little takeout restaurant. There, the closeness of the camera and the sharply etched performances (particularly the comically scene-stealing turns of Wang-Thye Lee and Jeng-Hua Yu) give the movie a vivacious clarity. In these scenes of people working and going about their daily lives, Take Out is vibrantly true-to-life in a way that few fictional movies manage. Baker and Tsou hedge their bets, cramming the movie's final third with a bit too much incident. A couple of plot twists strain credulity, but the filmmakers end things on just the right note. With antecedents dating back to Italian neorealism, Take Out still manages to feel wonderfully fresh. It's independent American filmmaking at its most vital.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/01/2009
UPC:
0738329066321
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:27:00
Sales rank:
75,261

Special Features

Audio Commentary with Directors Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou and Actor Charles Jang; ; Cast and Crew Interviews; Two Deleted Scenes; Charles Jang's Audition for Ming Ding; Theatrical Trailer; Stills Gallery; Optional Chinese Subtitles

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Take Out
1. Debt [7:35]
2. Time to Work [8:40]
3. Taking the Deliveries [9:10]
4. Weight Loss [5:34]
5. Psycho [7:50]
6. Breakdown [3:49]
7. Waiting Forever [1:41]
8. Bruise [6:12]
9. Wrong Apartment? [7:29]
10. Philosophy [6:00]
11. A Couple of Bucks [8:41]
12. Closing Up Shop [7:51]

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