The 22nd Seoul International Women's Film Festival has prepared a retrospective exhibition featuring the work of Hong Kong's prestigious female filmmaker Ann HUI. Director Ann HUI started her career as a TV film director in the mid/late 1970s, and for more than 40 years, through 31 films, she has captured the fluid time and space of Hong Kong that was build by migration and separation. From early socialist films that started the Hong Kong New Wave, to popular genre films such as horror thriller, comedy, martial arts, action, and romance, and simple realistic art films, the filmography of director Ann HUI cannot be defined as an existing trend, theme, or style, and the images of Hong Kong in those films are also constantly changing. One of the best observers of Hong Kong's urban culture, scholar Ackbar ABBAS says that Hong Kong is the city-state of Déjà Disparu, where it is believed to capture something new but already disappeared and only cliché remains. Looking at Hong Kong from this point of view, director Ann HUI has best captured this city-state throughout her entire filmography. Hong Kong is born to not have an intrinsic or homogeneous identity. It is the city of refugees, as its very existence was created by the descendants of the refugees. So, Hong Kong's citizens already carry inside themselves a history of hardship in the name of refugees and exiles. Such a philosophy was conveyed through director Ann HUI's early major work, the 'Vietnam Trilogy' –Below the Lion Rock: From Vietnam, The Story of Woo Viet, and Boat People. Director Ann HUI's interest does not stop at feeling compassion for refugees who are outsiders, and enlightening Hong Kong people for better living conditions. Director Ann HUI hopes that the Hong Kong people can reflect on their existence and identity through the stories of such immigrants.
The most notable films are director Ann HUI's early TV films, which marked the beginning of Hong Kong New Wave and the 'Vietnam Trilogy,' such as Below the Lion Rock: From Vietnam, Below the Lion Rock: Bridge, Below the Lion Rock: Road, and Social Worker: Ah Sze. For Korean audiences, this is a very rare opportunity to watch Hong Kong Public Broadcasting and TVB socialist TV films, which were noted as the pre-history of the Hong Kong New Wave in films and books. They serve as inspiration to learn about the history of the Hong Kong New Wave and the archetype of director Ann HUI's style, consisting of a distinctive and straightforward approach to social topics. The Secret, which was recently digitally restored by the Hong Kong Film Archive; Song of the Exile, which shows the intertwined history of Asia in World War II through the relationship between a mother and daughter; The Way We are, a drama for the common people featuring the Hong Kong-China border region dispute as the backdrop, following the return to China and the newly developed Tin Shui Wai New Town. All are great recommendations one must not miss. HWANG Miyojo / Programmer