The Secret | Boat People | Song of the Exile | Summer Snow | Eighteen Springs | The Way We Are | A Simple Life | The Golden Era

The Secret

The Metroplex – 08 December (Sat), 9:45pm
Broadway Cinematheque – 15 December (Sat), 3:00pm▲

The Secret
90 min│1979, restored in 2017│Hong Kong
DCP│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

This film deals with the shocking double murder of the young doctor Yuen (Alex Man) and his fiancée Li (Angie Chiu) in Lung Fu Shan, Hong Kong. Their neighbour and friend Lin (Silvia Chang) suspects foul play, and her investigations reveal the involvement of Mui (Lee Hye-sook), as well as Li’s pregnancy with Yuen’s child. The film’s narrative makes jumps in time and space, and switches between multiple viewpoints. The Secret is Ann Hui’s first feature film, and the emergence of her distinctive style is already evident here. She conjured the gloomy and time-worn atmosphere of the Western District in a style that came to be known as ‘Pokfield Road aesthetics’.

Courtesy: Hong Kong Film Services and Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Post-screening talk by film critic Lau Yam. Conducted in Cantonese

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Boat People

The Metroplex – 09 December (Sun), 7:15pm▲
Broadway Cinematheque – 15 December (Sat), 5:15pm

Boat People
109 min│1982│Hong Kong
35mm│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

When the war in Vietnam ended in 1975, people lined the streets to cheer troops arriving from the north. Japanese photographer Akutagawa (George Lam) was a witness. When he returns to Vietnam three years later, he meets a young woman, Cam Nuong (Season Ma), and uncovers the reality beneath the government’s veneer of hospitality. He also makes the acquaintance of To Minh (Andy Lau), through whom he learns the truth about the New Economic Zones put in place by the government. The film was a commercial and critical success in Hong Kong thanks to its veiled reference to anxiety over the approaching 1997 handover. It was also screened at the Festival de Cannes, marking an early milestone in Ann Hui’s career.

Courtesy: Bluebird Film Co., Ltd. and Edko Films Ltd.

Post-screening talk by Li Cheuk-to, Curator, Hong Kong Film and Media, M+. Conducted in Cantonese

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Song of the Exile

The Metroplex – 08 December (Sat), 2:30pm▲
Broadway Cinematheque – 15 December (Sat), 7:20pm

Song of the Exile
100 min│1990│Hong Kong
Digital│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

In this semi-autobiographical film, Hiuyan (Maggie Cheung), a film student in London in 1973, returns to Hong Kong for her younger sister’s wedding. Being back means she must confront her strained relationship with her mother, Aiko (Lu Hsiao-fen), a Japanese woman who was married in China at the end of the Second World War. During a visit to Aiko’s home town in Japan, mother and daughter approach an understanding. The protagonist’s itinerant lifestyle and search for her roots are an expression of Ann Hui’s personal history, and embedded in this history is the marginality of Hong Kong itself.

Courtesy: @ 2010 Fortune Star Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Post-screening talk by film critic Long Tin. Conducted in Cantonese

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Summer Snow

The Metroplex – 09 December (Sun), 2:30pm
Broadway Cinematheque – 15 December (Sat), 9:15pm▲

Summer Snow
105 min│1995│Hong Kong
DCP│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

May (Josephine Siao) is a typical Hong Kong housewife: she has her hands full with domestic chores and also works as an assistant to the director of a trading company. After the death of her mother-in-law (Tam Sin-hung), May brings her father-in-law (Roy Chiao) to live with her family. She soon realises that he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and recognises no one but her. Caring for him keeps May on her feet, and on her toes. As she tries to find enjoyment in this new role as a caregiver, her father-in-law surprises her with sparks of enlightenment. Summer Snow marks Ann Hui’s mid-career return to form; the film received six awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, and Josephine Siao was named Best Actress at the Berlinale for her performance.

Courtesy: Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Post-screening talk by film critic Geoffrey Wong and Jupiter Wong, assistant director on Summer Snow. Conducted in Cantonese

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Eighteen Springs

The Metroplex – 08 December (Sat), 5:00pm
Broadway Cinematheque – 16 Decemeber (SUN), 2:30pm▲

Eighteen Springs
126 min│1997│Hong Kong
Digital│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

In this adaptation of an Eileen Chang novel, cheerful Gu Manzhen (Jacklyn Wu) and introverted Shen Shijun (Leon Lai) are in love in 1930s Shanghai. But Shijun’s parents are opposed to a union because Manzhen’s sister, Gu Manlu (Anita Mui), works as an escort to support her family. Manlu devises a scheme to get Manzhen pregnant by her husband Zhu Hongcai (Ge You). Meanwhile, Shijun marries his cousin Shi Cuizhi (Annie Wu), who comes from a family of comparable status to his own. A decade later, the ex-lovers meet. Love has run out, leaving sorrow. With a shrewd use of narrative viewpoints and monologues, Eighteen Springs proves itself a successful adaptation of Chang’s work.

Courtesy: Mr. Raymond Wong and Pegasus Motion Pictures

▲ Post-screening talk by film critic Grace Mak. Conducted in Cantonese

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The Way We Are

The Metroplex – 08 December (Sat), 7:30pm▲
Broadway Cinematheque – 16 December (Sun), 5:15pm

The Way We Are
90 min│2008│Hong Kong
Digital│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

High-school student Cheung (Leung Chun-lung) lives with his mother Guai (Paw Hee-ching) in a public housing estate in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong. Cheung is sitting for an important public exam; Guai works in a supermarket. Their lives seem mundane but are deeply fulfilling. An elderly woman, Leung (Chan Lai-wan), has just moved to Tin Shui Wai. She lives alone and finds a job at the supermarket, where she crosses paths with Guai. Ann Hui’s  straightforward, meticulous portrayal of life turns the limitations of low-budget digital cinematography into a unique style. The film was extremely well received and signalled an important point in Ann Hui’s later career.

Courtesy: Licensed by Television Broadcasts Limited


Post-screening talk by film critic Stephanie Ng and Lou Shiu-wa, scriptwriter of The Way We Are. Conducted in Cantonese

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A Simple Life

The Metroplex – 09 December (Sun), 4:30pm▲
Broadway Cinematheque – 16 December (Sun), 7:00pm▲▲

A Simple Life
118 min│2011│Hong Kong
DCP│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

Based on a true story, A Simple Life centres on elderly maid Sister Peach (Deanie Ip) and Roger (Andy Lau), the only member of her employer’s family still in Hong Kong. They live under the same roof, like mother and son. When Peach is hospitalised after a stroke, she moves into a nursing home. She makes an effort to adapt to her new life and befriends people from a range of backgrounds. Roger visits her from time to time. This film finds Ann Hui turning her focus on ordinary people once again, zooming in on the tacit understanding and rapport between Ip and Lau. A Simple Life won five major awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, and Deanie Ip was named Best Actress at the Venice International Film Festival.  

Courtesy: A Really Happy Film (HK) Limited and Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Post-screening talk by styling consultant Man Lim-chung. Conducted in Cantonese
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 Post-screening talk by film critic Pan Lei and Albert Poon, production designer on A Simple Life. Conducted in Cantonese

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The Golden Era

Broadway Cinematheque – 14 December (Fri), 7:40pm▲

The Golden Era
177 min│2014│Hong Kong
DCP│Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

The Golden Era is a detailed portrait of the difficult, itinerant life of Xiao Hong, a writer during the Republic of China period. Xiao Hong (Tang Wei) leaves her hometown in north-eastern China in pursuit of the freedom to love. She meets another writer, Xiao Jun (Feng Shaofeng), and her talent is recognised by the prominent literary figure Lu Xun (Wang Zhiwen). Her relationship with Xiao Jun becomes rocky; they separate and, pregnant with his child, she marries Duanmu Hongliang (Zhu Yawen). Xiao Hong dies in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation, after completing The Story of HuLan River. Ann Hui’s film demonstrates a breadth of vision and an ambition unprecedented in her earlier work. It sees Hui leveraging the advantages of a co-production to create a film that is epic in scale but nevertheless close to her heart.

Courtesy: Edko Films Ltd.

▲ Post-screening talk by writer Tang Siu-wa. Conducted in Cantonese

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