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THE SECRET

Hong Kong, 1979 (MIFF 1980, Programme 38)

Director: Ann Hui

Hong Kong is well represented at the 1980 festival, and one of its three features is a debut film by a young former TV director, Ann Hui. She demonstrates here the new stylistic and technical awareness of the younger generation of Cantonese directors.

Based on a murder case that occurred in 1970, the film opens with the discovery of two mutilated bodies of a young couple and then constructs a nightmarish web of strange happenings en route to the final revelation of the mystery.

Ann Hui says about her film:

"After I'd finished making the film, I felt that it lacked something. I think it's because I was not certain during the shooting exactly what kind of film I was aiming to make.

"This has nothing to do with the audience the film is made for. It's more a matter of my own uncertainty about my aims. Let me explain: our point of departure was a real-life murder case, which had a number of intricate features that could easily have been given a very commercial slant. There were various ways we could have approached this subject: we could have treated it as a documentary-style study of a murder; we could have concentrated on the inter-relationships between the characters, that led up to the murder; or, again, we could have treated it as a thriller, tracing the course of the investigation to find out the murderer. In retrospect, I think we made a basic error in failing to decide whether the film should be a thriller or a pyschologicai movie. Had we gone for one or the other, our approach would certainly have been different.

"In fact, this was a basic misunderstanding between scriptwriter Joyce Chan, the producers and myself, right from the start. When I decided on the story in the first place, I didn't think of it as a thriller, but rather as a psychological drama. I felt that the heroine's character had some resemblances with Electra, and that was what first captured my interest."

See also...

A SIMPLE LIFE

“A slice-of-life masterpiece dealing compassionately with the inevitable ageing process.” - Time Out Hong Kong ... Chinese screen star Andy Lau teams for once again with his real-life godmother ... More »

SONG OF THE EXILE

Song of the Exile is a film that Ann Hui has wanted to make for years, a panoramic account of a troubled mother-daughter relationship that spans some twenty-five years. It is inspired by Hui's own ... More »

GODDESS OF MERCY

Goddess of Mercy (Yu Guanyin) ChinaUndercover cops don't have long careers in China's Yunnan province. In the border town of Nande, dope smugglers live by the rule that no witnesses means no trial ... More »

Water Wrackets

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Sandbags and Trenches

Illustrates a traditional song of the Irish Revolution. ... More »

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