As a director, I have to promote my films, so I’d said too much. I just want to quietly make films, quietly contemplate and let my films speak for themselves. For if the films are well made, then what needs to be said are said in the films. If they’re poorly made, all the words in the world wouldn’t help. So, I only want to say: as a director who had worked here all my life, I’m proud of myself and I’m grateful to this city. I wish that in addition to making good films, I can also nurture new talents that will bring prosperity to the industry, allowing me to thank Hong Kong for everything it gave me.
Ann Hui was born in 1947 in Liaoning, China, to a father who was a Nationalist Party official and a Japanese mother. Her family immigrating to Hong Kong when she was five, Hui went to St. Paul Convent, then University of Hong Kong, where she obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English. Returning to Hong Kong in 1975 after studying at the London Film School, she served as assistant to director King Hu.
Hui later worked in television, making significant contributions to what is now considered a Golden Era of Hong Kong television. She first joined TVB, directing dramas and documentaries on 16mm, later switching to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, making anti-corruption dramas, two of which were banned because of their controversial topics. She then worked for RTHK, making 16mm documentaries and short dramas, including the series Below the Lion Rock. One episode of the series, Boy from Vietnam, which deals with the pressing issue of Vietnamese refugee from a refugee perspective, gave rise to two later features and became the first installment of what is known as Hui’s celebrated Vietnam Trilogy.
Hui served notice with her first feature, The Secret (1979), a murder mystery that received enthusiastic responses, becoming one of several films that laid the foundation for the influential Hong Kong New Wave. Acclaim continued for her sophomore project The Spooky Bunch (1980), which was again a critical favorite, later chosen by the Hong Kong Film Archive as one of its 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies.
The Story of Woo Viet (1981) and Boat People (1982), Hui’s next projects, were also highly renowned, both screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the former in Directors’ Fortnight, the latter as a Surprise Film in the Official Selection section. Together, the films complete the Vietnam Trilogy.
Two of Hui’s films are adapted from author Eileen Chang’s novel, first is Love in a Fallen City (1984) and the second Eighteen Springs (1997). She had also directed one of the best adaptations of martial arts novelist Louie Cha’s work, The Romance of Book and Sword (1987) and its sequel Princess Fragrance (1987).
Though few of her works are big-budget productions or blockbuster hits, Hui is one of Hong Kong’s most decorated directors, winning important awards for herself and her films in different phases of a long career. In 1995, Summer Snow (1995) won the Best Actress Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Josephine Siao, with whom Hui had worked 15 years earlier in The Spooky Bunch. The film also won major prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Golden Bauhinia Awards as well as named Best Film by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Ordinary Heroes (1999) was conferred Best Film by the Hong Kong Film Awards as well as five major prizes at the Golden Horse Awards. Siqin Gaowa was crowned Best Actress for The Post-Modern Life of My Aunt (2006) by the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, the latter organization also naming the film Best Film as well as Hui Best Director.
Two years later, The Way We Are (2008) won Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (for Paw Hee-ching) and Best Supporting Actress (for Chan Lai-wun) at the Hong Kong Film Awards as well as conferred Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Hui’s streak continued with A Simple Life (2012), first winning the Best Actress award (for Deanie Ip) at the Venice International Film Festival, then named Best Film and Best Actress by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society as well as sweeping all five major Hong Kong Film Awards prizes: Best Film, Best director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Actor (for Andy Lau). Her latest work Golden Era, will be released in 2014, featuring Tang Wei, as 1940s writer Xiao Hong.
Hui frequently served as producer and scriptwriter for her films as well as making cameo appearances in many films. She had been president of the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild and Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||A Simple Life|
||All About Love|
||Night and Fog|
||The Way We Are|
||The Post-modern Life of My Aunt|
||Jade Goddess of Mercy|
||As Time Goes By||CHUI Vincent|
||Boy and His Hero|
||My American Grandson|
||Song of The Exile|
||Starry Is The Night|
||The Romance of Book and Sword|
||Love in a Fallen City|
||The Story of Woo Viet|
||The Spooky Bunch|