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July Rhapsody film image; man and woman look longingly at each other

Ann Hui’s 2002 film was widely acclaimed on release, and it looks even better today. It’s one of those movies that distills its reflections on life to a fine point that lingers long in the mind. Jacky Cheung plays Lam Yiu-kwok, a secondary school teacher trying to impart an appreciation of poetry to his students. But at 40 (the Chinese title translates as “Man, 40”), he’s acutely aware that his old college friends are making more money in the private sector. Relations with his wife (Anita Mui in her last screen performance) are strained — not least when an ex-lover, the father of her first child — reaches out from his sick bed, wanting to reconcile before he dies. And then there’s Choi-lam (Karena Lam), a precocious and flirtatious student who has a crush on him and won’t let him forget it. (A Vancouverite by birth, Lam won multiple awards at both the Hong Kong and Golden Horse Awards for her performance.)

Working from a fine screenplay by Ivy Ho (Comrades, Almost a Love Story), Hui allows the drama to develop gradually through patiently observed, naturalistic scenes, and finds a large measure of sympathy for each of the main characters. There is a real sense of well-meaning people struggling to handle emotional currents that are pulling them apart.

New 4K Restoration

There’s a serenity and quiet beauty about this small but impressive film.

David Stratton, Variety

“She is a narrative filmmaker who situates her characters in the imperfect social world and shows them struggling, and largely succeeding, to survive. The daily doings and settings of the characters are densely detailed with a kind of documentary realism, and the story unfolds almost casually, with moments of humour and pathos.

Freda Freiberg, Senses of Cinema

Director

Ann Hui

Cast

Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, Karena Lam

Credits
Country of Origin

Hong Kong

Year

2002

Language

In Cantonese with English subtitles

19+
103 min

Book Tickets

Saturday May 18

3:00 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Sunday May 19

1:45 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Monday May 20

6:20 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Tuesday May 21

7:50 pm
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VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Thursday May 23

7:45 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Friday May 24

4:30 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Tuesday May 28

8:00 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Credits

Screenwriter

Ivy Ho

Cinematography

Kwan Pun Leung

Editor

Kwong Chi Leung

Original Music

Tommy Wai Kai Leung

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