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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."

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