Vietnam / refugee / immigration / poverty
Ah Man, born during the Vietnam War, lost family when he was very young. Barely into his teens, he fled to Hong Kong and found refuge with his cousin Yin. Yin teaches Cantonese and helps him integrate into society, and his compatriot Chung finds him work as an apprentice in an art gallery. Ah Man's new life seems to be on track – until, delivering a painting to a hotel, he is shocked that Yin works as a gigolo. Resolving to run away from home, he never anticipated that the next time he sees Yin, it would be in entirely different circumstances.
Below the Lion Rock is a on-going TV series from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), first broadcast in 1978. At first, Below the Lion Rock was planned as a TV series dealing with the lives of ordinary Hong Kong people, and each government department recommended various subjects to explore—one was the plight facing Vietnamese refugees, recommended by the immigration office. In an interview with HUI, she mentioned that she was greatly influenced by the advice of fellow director FONG Allen, who said, "You shouldn't pity those people; you should pity yourself. In fact, Hong Kong is a big refugee camp. You're also either a refugee or a descendant of a refugee." She recalls that due to this she changed her directing vision against simply evoking sympathy and pity. From Vietnam does not presuppose the general Hongkonger's view on refugees. The main character, a migrant boy, simply looks at what is happening to him from his viewpoint, and waits until such things come to mean something to him. So as the drama progresses, what is portrayed to us is not so much the difficulties of Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong as foreigners, but the city-state of Hong Kong that the boy gradually comes to understand on his own. [HWANG Miyojo]
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Ann HUI was born in 1947 in Anju City, Liaoning Province, China, to a Nationalist Party clerk and a Japanese mother. Her family moved to Macau and then settled in Hong Kong. She found out her mother was Japanese when she was a teenager, as she assumed her mother spoke clumsy Cantonese because she was from another part of China. After receiving a Masters in English Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong, she studied filmmaking at the London Film School in UK in 1972. HUI returned from UK in 1974 and worked at the film department of Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) in Hong Kong. The TV films and dramas she produced at this time form the pre-history of Hong Kong's New Wave along with TV films from directors TSUI Hark, FONG Allen and YIM Ho. In particular, HUI dealt with social issues afflicting the lives of the middle and lower classes in Hong Kong in the series Below the Lion Rock, which was broadcast by Hong Kong's public broadcaster for decades, making her Hong Kong's leading socially-conscious film director. In 1979, she directed her first feature The Secret, a thriller that examined female oppression in traditional Chinese communities. Together with the directors who debuted around the same time, she led the New Wave era in Hong Kong. The story of Vietnamese refugees that began in From Vietnam (1978) in Below the Lion Rock was then linked to The Story of Woo Viet (1981) and Boat People (1982), completing the 'Vietnamese trilogy'. Since then, she has continued to capture the ever-evolving city of Hong Kong from her own perspective. Her filmography includes Song of the Exile (1990), which reflects on East Asian history by focusing on a mother-daughter relationship; the 'Vietnamese trilogy' which captures Hong Kong, a city of refugees and separated families; Summer Snow (1995), The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (2006), A Simple Life (2011) which reflect on the lives of middle-aged and older women in the city; The Way We are (2008), and Night and Fog (2009) which portray the ordinary lives of people in a city near the Chinese border after Hong Kong's return to China. Ann HUI has received Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement at Venice International Film Festival 2020.
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