Ann Hui On-Wah (許鞍華, Pinyin: Xǔ Ānhuá, Hepburn: Kyo Anka) born May 23, 1947 to a Chinese father and a Japanese mother is a Hong Kong film director, one of the most critically acclaimed amongst the Hong Kong New Wave.
Hui was born in Anshan
and she moved to Macau
, then to Hong Kong when she was five. She studied in St. Paul's Convent School
. She studied English language and literature and comparative literary studies in the University of Hong Kong
until 1972, when she received her Masters
, before spending two years in the London International Film School. Returning to Hong Kong in 1975, she entered TVB
as a director, making many serials and documentaries on 16mm
. During this time she in particular helped King Hu
as an assistant on television. The most notable featurette she made during this period was Boy From Vietnam
(1978), which was her first film on Vietnam
and formed the first of her "Vietnamese trilogy".
Transition from television to film
Hui left television in 1979, making her first feature The Secret
, a mystery thriller based on real life murder case and starring Taiwanese star Sylvia Chang
. It was immediately hailed as an important film in the Hong Kong New Wave. The Spooky Bunch
(1981) was her take on the ghost story
genre, while The Story of Woo Viet
(1981) continued her Vietnamese trilogy. Hui experimented with special effects and daring angles; her preoccupation with sensitive political and social issues is a recurrent feature in most of her subsequent films. Boat People
(1982), the third part of her Vietnamese trilogy, is the most famous of her early films, which examines the plight of Vietnamese immigrants after the Vietnam War
In the mid-1980s Hui continued her string of critically acclaimed works. Love in a Fallen City (1984) was based on a novel by Eileen Chang, and the two-part, ambitious wuxia adaptation of Louis Cha's first novel, The Book and the Sword was divided into The Romance of the Book and Sword (1987) and Princess Fragrance (1987). 1990 saw one of her most important works to date, the semi-autobiographical The Song of Exile. The film looks into the loss of identity, disorientation and despair faced by an exiled mother and a daughter faced with clashes in culture and historicity. As in the film, Hui's own mother was Japanese.
After a brief hiatus in which she returned briefly to television production, Hui returned with Summer Snow
(1995), about a middle-aged woman trying to cope with everyday family problems and an Alzheimer
-inflicted father-in-law. Eighteen Springs
(1997) reprises another Eileen Chang novel while Ordinary Heroes
(1999), about Chinese and Hong Kong political activists from 1970s to the 1990s, won the Best Feature at the Golden Horse Awards
In 2002, her July Rhapsody, the companion film to Summer Snow and about a middle-aged male teacher facing a mid-life crisis, was released to good reviews in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Her latest film, Jade Goddess of Mercy (2003), is adapted from a novel from Chinese writer Hai Yan.
Filmography as director
Filmography as actress
Ann Hui has appeared mostly in cameo in several films: