Screening Dates
  • June 22, 2023 8:10
  • June 24, 2023 6:30
  • July 3, 2023 7:00
New Restoration

One of the 100 greatest Hong Kong films (#2)

Time Out, 2017

Ann Hui’s most celebrated film follows a Japanese photojournalist (George Lam) uncovering the harsh living conditions in rural Vietnam after the communist takeover. Despite its compassionate take on the plight of Vietnamese refugees, Boat People was controversial on its release: it had to be presented as a surprise, out-of-competition screening at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival over worries that it was too critical of the Vietnamese regime. (China, by contrast, banned the film for not being critical enough). In part because her cinema straddles tense geopolitical boundaries—her films are produced in Hong Kong, shot in Mainland China, and frequently explore transnational identities and conflicts—Hui’s work is woefully underappreciated outside of Asia. This new restoration provides a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece by one of the most prolific and influential auteurs of the Hong Kong New Wave. Boat People also features Cantopop superstar Andy Lau in one of his first film roles.

In Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Japanese with English subtitles

Best Film, Director, Screenplay, New Performer, Art Direction
Hong Kong Film Awards 1983

Hui is justly reckoned as second only to King Hu in [Hong Kong] as a stylist, a storyteller, and an explosive movie innovator.”

Harlan Kennedy, Film Comment

Masterful … Unquestionably one of the most important films in Hong Kong cinema.”

Edmund Lee, Time Out

A film that regards the political and the human as inextricable—and urges us to do the same.”

Justin Chang, Criterion Collection