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.