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March 16 - 19

March Rhapsody: Selected Films of Ann Hui

With the success of filmmakers such as Tsui Hark, John Woo and Johnnie To, Hong Kong Cinema Hong Kong Cinema's international reputation is based on the genre films produced by larger-than-life male directors. Among this generation of filmmakers, Ann Hui has produced a varied body of work which offers a more thoughtful contemplation on national identity and the role of women in contemporary Asian society.

Born in Manchuria to a Chinese father and Japanese mother, Hui moved with her family first to Macao and then Hong Kong. She studied at the University of Hong Kong and the London International Film School before embarking on a career in television as an assistant to acclaimed director King Hu.  While still working in television, Hui directed The Boy from Vietnam (1978), the first in a trilogy of films—followed by The Story of Woo Viet (1981) and Boat People (1982)—that reflect on the plight of refugees leaving Vietnam. Her subsequent films range in style from the traditional martial arts genre of The Romance of Book and Sword (1987)to the multi-generational family melodramas Song of the Exile (1990). More recent works such as Summer Snow (1994) and July Rhapsody (2001) eschew genre altogether in favor of quieter contemplations on the wisdom that comes with growing older. Many of Hui's films are unavailable for distribution even in her native country, rendering this overview of her work incomplete but indispensable to Hong Kong cinephiles, presenting highlights of one of the most important figures of Hong Kong cinema’s impressive career.

This program is co-presented with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.


March 16 (Friday) 7:30 pm

The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (Yi ma de hou xian dai sheng huo)

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong 2006, 35mm, color, 111 min.
With Yun-Fat Chow, Gaowa Siqin, Zhao Wei
Mandarin with English subtitles

A sixty-something woman (Gaowa) adjusts to life alone in modern
day Shanghai after spending most of her years in rural Manchuria. She eventually falls in love with and is swindled by an amateur opera singer (Chow) who steals her life savings. Amidst this struggle, the woman must also contend with her resentful daughter, who forces her to take responsibility for her past actions. Director Hui joyfully reunites with international star Chow, who propelled her early films The Story of Woo Viet and Love in a Fallen City to worldwide acclaim. 

Special thanks to Cheerland Entertainment Organization.

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March 17 (Saturday) 7 pm
March 18 (Sunday) 9 pm

July Rhapsody (Laam yan sei sap) (aka Man of 40)

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong 2002, 35mm, color, 103 min.
With Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, Kar Yan Lam
Cantonese with English subtitles

A literature teacher in an elite Hong Kong high school experiences a
midlife crisis when a student confesses her love for him. His temptation for the young woman is compounded by the arrival of his former teacher, who had an affair with his wife. Following her earlier film Summer Snow (aka Woman, Forty), which examined the struggles of a middle-aged housewife, Hui demonstrates her strength as a narrative filmmaker with this finely drawn cast of characters who plausibly confront real-life struggles.

Special thanks to Filmko Entertainment Limited.

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March 17 (Saturday) 9 pm
March 18 (Sunday) 7 pm

Love in a Fallen City (Qing cheng zhi lian)

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong 1984, video, color, 95 min.
With Chiao Chiao, Yun-Fat Chow, King-fai Chung
Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles

Set during World War II this nostalgic love story centers on a divorcee from Shanghai who suffers under her family’s harsh judgment of her failed marriage.  She agrees to go to Hong Kong, where she meets a jaded playboy (Chow) with whom she tentatively develops a passionate affair—all while Japanese soldiers plan to invade the British colony. Ann Hui’s old fashioned romance marked an unusual left turn for kung fu masters Shaw Brothers Studios.

Licensed by Celestial Filmed Entertainment Limited. All rights reserved.

March 19 (Monday) 7 pm

Zodiac Killers (Jidao zhuizhong)

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong 1991, 35mm, color, 97 min.
With Andy Lau, Cherie Chung, Junichi Ishida
Cantonese with English subtitles

A Chinese student (HK superstar Andy Lau) living in Japan’s Shinjuku district gets embroiled in the world of the Yakuza when he falls for a fellow Chinese student with ties to the criminal underworld. Reflecting on her own Sino-Japanese heritage, director Ann Hui continues her exploration of cross-cultural identity in this compelling foray into the gangster genre.

Licensed by STAR TV Filmed Entertainment (HK) Limited & STAR TV Filmed Entertainment Limited. All Rights Reserved. Special thanks to Fortune Star Entertainment (HK) Limited.

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March 19 (Monday) 9 pm
March 21 (Wednesday) 9 pm

Boat People

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong 1982, 35mm, color, 111 min.
With Paul Chiang, Meiying Jia, George Lam
Cantonese with English subtitles

An important landmark of the Hong Kong New Wave, Boat People follows Shaomi Akutagawa, a Japanese journalist who arrives in Vietnam intent on documenting the country’s recovery from the war. He meets a young girl from a poor family who helps open his eyes to the oppressive living conditions of the North Vietnamese. Implicitly anti-communist, Boat People was censored in China at the time of its release, but went on to a successful showing at Cannes and the Best Picture and Best Director prizes at the 1983 Hong Kong Academy Awards.

Licensed by Celestial Filmed Entertainment Limited. All rights reserved.

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