films seen
27
average score
2.22*
nationality
China - 75 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

The undisputed empress of Hong Kong cinema. Hui is the only female HK director to nurture a fruitful career that spans multiple decades. While some of her films struggle to marry drama and genre influences, her oeuvre as a whole is worthy of discovery.

Solid pieces

The Postmodern Life of My Aunt

by Ann Hui
Yi Ma De Hou Xian Dai Sheng Huo
2006 / 111m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Drama, Romance
3.5*/5.0*
The Postmodern Life of My Aunt poster

Visible Secret

by Ann Hui
Youling Renjian
2001 / 101m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
3.5*/5.0*
Visible Secret poster

Swordsman

by Siu-Tung Ching, King Hu, Raymond Lee, Hark Tsui, Ann Hui, Yeung-Wah Kam
Xiaoao Jiang Hu
1990 / 120m - Hong Kong
Action
3.5*/5.0*
Swordsman poster

The inoffensive

Our Time Will Come

by Ann Hui
Ming Yue Ji Shi You
2017 / 130m - China
Drama, War
3.0*/5.0*
Our Time Will Come poster

A Simple Life

by Ann Hui
Tou Ze
2011 / 118m - Hong Kong
Drama
3.0*/5.0*
A Simple Life poster

Goddess of Mercy

by Ann Hui
Yu Guanyin
2003 / 110m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance, Action, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Goddess of Mercy poster

Eighteen Springs

by Ann Hui
Ban Sheng Yuan
1997 / 126m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance
3.0*/5.0*
Eighteen Springs poster

Worthy but flawed

Love After Love

by Ann Hui
Di Yi Lu Xiang
2020 / 144m - China
Romance
2.5*/5.0*
Love After Love poster

Ann Hui's latest romantic epic turned out to be a bit of a snoozefest. And she has nobody to blame but herself, as the budget was clearly there. The cinematography is extremely polished, the score is refined, and the cast is filled to the brim with big names. And yet, the film completely loses steam during the second half.

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Weilong is a young girl who travels from Shanghai to Hong Kong to get a better upbringing. She goes to live with her aunt, but when she falls for the charms of Qiqiao her future is jeopardized. Qiqiao isn't very loyal and loves to sleep around, Weilong is madly in love though, and she is willing to give up her own happiness to marry him.

Hui is very much a narrator, not so much a director. While the film looks very slick and polished, it lacks emotion and the romance nor the drama ever blossoms. That is rather problematic for a 2.5-hour film. The runtime is excessive, the characters feel flat and the ending really started to drag. It's a shame, as the potential for something better was clearly present.

The Golden Era

by Ann Hui
Huang Jin Shi Dai
2014 / 177m - China
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
The Golden Era poster

Ann Hui goes for the big guns here, but ends up making a rather cheesy and overly sentimental drama that fails to impress. It's as if she wanted to relive the heydays of Yimou Zhang's work, but lacked Zhang's talent to keep the sentiment under control. The result is an overly long film that drags things out unnecessarily.

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The Golden Era ends up being China's answer to Hollywood kitsch. Slow and overstated camera work, overbearing drama that lacks subtlety, a score that is a tearjerker's dream and an epic story that spans half a lifetime. And a 3-hour running time, so even when you aren't impressed by the film itself, you'll be hard-pressed to forget about it afterwards.

It's not all bad though. The actors do a nice job and some stand-alone scenes do work well. The problem is that they're not highlights of climaxes within the film, put just part of the constant onslaught of drama. I'm not a big Hui fan to begin with, but at least her usual mix of character drama and genre cinema offers something unique, this film sadly doesn't.

Night and Fog

by Ann Hui
Tin Shui Wai Dik Ye Yu Mo
2009 / 122m - Hong Kong
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
Night and Fog poster

July Rhapsody

by Ann Hui
Laam Yan Sei Sap
2002 / 103m - Hong Kong
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
July Rhapsody poster

Stunt Woman

by Ann Hui
A Jin De Gu Shi
1996 / 95m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action
2.5*/5.0*
Stunt Woman poster

Zodiac Killers

by Ann Hui
Ji Dao Zhui Zong
1991 / 97m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance, Crime
2.5*/5.0*
Zodiac Killers poster

A very middle of the road crime flick by Ann Hui. Sadly the drama doesn't work that well, which depraves the ending from its power. The acting is decent, there are a couple of solid scenes and it's a rather inoffensive film, at the same time it's also completely forgettable. Okay filler, but nothing more than that.

Starry Is the Night

by Ann Hui
Gam Ye Sing Gwong Chaan Laan
1988 / 94m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance
2.5*/5.0*
Starry Is the Night poster

Dubious filler

Beautiful 2012

by Changwei Gu, Ann Hui, Tae-yong Kim, Ming-liang Tsai
2012 / 90m - Hong Kong
Drama
2.0*/5.0*
Beautiful 2012 poster

I like a good anthology, but these more arthouse-oriented projects tend to disappoint. Beautiful 2012 managed to attract some interesting names, but the result is rather lackluster. None of the shorts really stand out and almost all of them felt rushed and underdeveloped, as if the directors sent in some leftovers.

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The concept is supposed to show the directors' visions on "beauty", but I only know because I read the liner notes. The shorts themselves don't communicate that at all, instead they are quite downtrodden and glum. I guess that's just what you get when you go for more arthouse-loving directors.

Tsai started his Walker series here, his short is probably the best of the bunch. Kim's short is pretty decent too, with some nice shots here and there, Hui's entry is forgettable and Gu's one is the worst of the bunch. Relatively short and somewhat varied, but unless you are a completist like me there's not that much here.

My American Grandson

by Ann Hui
Shanghai Jiaqi
1991 / 100m - Hong Kong
Drama
2.0*/5.0*
My American Grandson poster

Somewhat tepid and simplistic drama by Ann Hui. The film looks nice for a 90s Hong Kong film, but the drama between a grandfather and his visiting grandson is hardly substantial. The acting is poor, the film is predictable and there's absolutely nothing that makes this one stand out. Not terrible, just forgettable.

Love in a Fallen City

by Ann Hui
Qing Cheng Zhi Lian
1984 / 93m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance, War
2.0*/5.0*
Love in a Fallen City poster

The Shaw Bros didn't release many dramas, but with Ann Hui in the director seat that's what you're getting. At times it reminded me a little of In The Mood for Love, but the film lacks good direction and without any stand-out elements it's just another tepid drama in Hui's extensive oeuvre. Decent but way too basic.

God of Killers

by Ann Hui
Woo Yuet Dik Goo Si
1981 / 90m - Hong Kong
Drama, Crime
2.0*/5.0*
God of Killers poster

Starts off as a social drama, turns into a crime flick during the second half. The problem is that the actors have no dramatic impact and that Hui is not much of a crime director. Both genres do little to strengthen each other, though the crime elements do improve the pacing of the film. It's not terrible, but unless you're a Hui or Fat fan it's a hard recommend.

Plain forgettable

All about Love

by Ann Hui
Duk Haan Chau Faan
2010 / 105m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Romance
1.5*/5.0*
All about Love poster

The Way We Are

by Ann Hui
Tin Shui Wai Dik Yat Yu Ye
2008 / 90m - Hong Kong
Drama
1.5*/5.0*
The Way We Are poster

Ordinary Heroes

by Ann Hui
Qian Yan Wan Yu
1999 / 128m - Hong Kong
Drama
1.5*/5.0*
Ordinary Heroes poster

Ann Hui doing social drama. I'm sure she means well, but she's just not very fit to direct these films. The actors aren't good enough (even Kang-sheng Lee disappoints), visually it's a complete graveyard and drama is too predictable and overwrought. The running time is the final nail in its coffin. A disappointing film, not Hui's best.

As Time Goes By

by Ann Hui, Vincent Chui
Qu Ri Ku Duo
1997 / 58m - Hong Kong
Documentary
1.5*/5.0*
As Time Goes By poster

The handover is by far one of the most impactful events in (semi)recent Hong Kong history. The ripples of that moments are getting stronger every day, so I figured it might be interesting to see how the Hong Kong people felt about this historic moment back when it actually took place. That's not really what Hui's documentary is about though.

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Instead, Hui takes a trip down memory lane. Interviewing herself and some other people, you get a talking heads doc where the interviewees are mostly digging up old memories. These are mostly personal memories, so unless you've lived in Hong Kong, or you're a big fan of human interest, it's really not that interesting.

The doc is only an hour long, but it still feels a little random and aimless. Hui tries to span the 40 years under British rule, it just doesn't really translate well. Some interviews are more interesting than others and the short runtime makes sure it's not a complete fluke, but I was hoping to see something more insightful.

Summer Snow

by Ann Hui
Nu Ren Si Shi
1995 / 101m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Drama
1.5*/5.0*
Summer Snow poster

Song of the Exile

by Ann Hui
Ketu Qiuhen
1990 / 100m - Hong Kong
Drama
1.5*/5.0*
Song of the Exile poster

Pretty unattractive and tepid drama by Ann Hui. I'm not getting along very well with Hui's older work, though I had slight hopes because Song of the Exile featured Maggie Cheung. While Cheung's performance is fine, the rest of the film really isn't and even though it's pretty short, it still dragged a lot.

Big nopes

Boat People

by Ann Hui
Tau Ban No Hoi
1982 / 109m - Hong Kong
Drama
1.0*/5.0*
Boat People poster

The Spooky Bunch

by Ann Hui
Zhuang Dao Zheng
1980 / 97m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy
1.0*/5.0*
The Spooky Bunch poster

The Secret

by Ann Hui
Fung Gip
1979 / 85m - Hong Kong
Drama, Mystery, Thriller
1.0*/5.0*
The Secret poster