Ann Hui responded to both the tenth anniversary of June 4th 1989 and the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 with this ambitious 1999 film. Employing impressive structural and thematic density, Hui develops interlocking stories of various activists and HKers in the 1980s. Superb local actors Anthony Wong, Rachel Lee, Lee Kang-sheng and Tse Kwan-ho play a Marxist priest, social workers/activists and a calculating politician. Augustine Mok is the Trotskyite actor whose Temple Street agitprop performance frames the personal dramas.

Hui knows how to build subdued melodrama, and also how to pause her storytelling to capture (in Yu Lik-wai's electrically luminous photography) the texture of everyday altruism and idealistic action that can improve the lives of a great city's underclass. The film's shattering end, commemorating the Tiananmen movement, asks whether the hybrid modern Chinese-style society that HKers have created can really sustain a better, more just, freer way of life.

Original title
Cin jin maan jyu
Filmmaker
Ann Hui
Country
Hong Kong, China
Year
1999
Medium
Betacam Digi NTSC
Length
128’
Language
Cantonese
Producer
Ann Hui
Production Company
Class Limited Productions
Sales
Ann Hui
Writer
Chan Kin-chung
Cinematography
Nelson Lik-wai Yu
Editor
Kwong Chi-Leung
Production Design
Ringo Fung, Albert Poon
Music
Chiu Tsang-hei, Clarence Hui
Cast
Lee Kang-sheng, Anthony Chau-sang Wong, Tse Kwan-Ho, Chik Mo-chan, Lau Chau-sang, Lee Chi-man, Lee Gam-ming