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Septet: The Story of Hong Kong film image, director Wo Ping Yuen

Septet: The Story of Hong Kong


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This group of shorts from seven of Hong Kong’s best filmmakers is an elegiac tribute to that city’s past—and a subversive commentary on its present. The themes vary between films, but there is significant overlap among them: they include regret over love that went unfulfilled, the personal ruptures that came with the ‘97 handover, and the ways in which Hong Kong has changed since that fateful year.

Septet begins with a reminiscence of martial arts school and ends with a hilarious political allegory. In between, there are commentaries on history and loss—some caustic, some mournful, some bittersweet. From kung fu to the cultural politics of cuisine, the filmmakers mine their city’s complicated ethos—sometimes to shine a light on current conditions, other times to simply honour cultural memory.

[C]onveys a nostalgic ache for a settled land far removed from the current political turmoil… a film that remains appealing through all its changing moods and tones.”—Allan Hunter, Screen Daily


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Timmy Hung, Francis Ng, Jennifer Yu, Yuen Wah, Ng Wing Sze, Simon Yam, Cheung Tat Ming

Country of Origin

Hong Kong/China




In Cantonese with English subtitles

Film Contact
111 min
Drama Women Directors

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Ann Hui headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Ann Hui

The renowned director, producer, and screenwriter Ann Hui is best known for The Golden Era (2014) and Our Time Will Come (2017). Hui was a rising young director in the Hong Kong New Wave Cinema movement during the 70s and 80s, with a knack for portraying the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Hui is one of the few influential female directors in Chinese-language cinema. In 2020, Hui won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice International Film Festival.

Filmography: The Way We Are (2008); All About Love (2010); The Golden Era (2014); Our Time Will Come (2017)

Sammo Hung headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Sammo Hung

Having started out as a member of the performance troupe Seven Little Fortunes, Sammo Hung worked his way to become one of the most significant figures in martial arts cinema. The producer, director, screenwriter, and actor is known affectionately as “Big Big Brother” in the industry. In 1989, he received the Best Actor award at the 33rd Asia-Pacific Film Festival for his role as Yu Jim Yuen in the film Painted Faces (1988). Sammo Hung was the action director on Ip Man (2008), Ip Man 2 (2010), The Monkey King 2 (2016), and Paradox (2017).

Filmography: Blade of Fury (1993); Don’t Give a Damn (1995); Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997); My Beloved Bodyguard (2016)

Ringo Lam headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Ringo Lam

Ringo Lam was a Hong Kong director best known for his action crime thrillers. His most famous films include Wild City (2015) and the On Fire trilogy. City on Fire (1987) is not only one of the most iconic Hong Kong crime movies, but it also inspired Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, which became a classic crime drama in American cinema. Ringo Lam passed away on December 29, 2018.

Filmography: City on Fire (1987); Replicant (2001); Triangle (2007); Wild City (2015)

Patrick Tam headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Patrick Tam

A prominent figure in Hong Kong New Wave Cinema, Patrick Tam is celebrated for his experimental style and edgy cinematography. He was nominated for Best Film Editing twice at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Days of Being Wild (1990) and Ashes of Time (1994). Currently a visiting professor in the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University, he is dedicated to training a new crop of filmmakers. His 2006 movie After This Our Exile took home Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Filmography: Nomad (1982); Burning Snow (1988); My Heart Is That Eternal Rose (1989); After This Our Exile (2006)

Johnnie To headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Johnnie To

With acclaimed films including Election (2005) and The Mission (1999), Johnnie To has 26 Best Director nominations and six wins under his belt. His film Election 2 (2006) screened at Cannes Film Festival and Exiled (2006) was shown at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. His 2011 film Life Without Principle was screened at the Venice, Toronto, and San Sebastián International Film Festivals, the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, the Busan International Film Festival, and the Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

Filmography: The Mission (1999); Election 2 (2006); Life Without Principle (2011); Chasing Dream (2019)

Hark Tsui headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Hark Tsui

The director of Once Upon a Time in China (1991) and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017), Hark Tsui is noted for his creative vision and adept use of filmmaking techniques. The Butterfly Murders (1979), which propelled Tsui to fame, subverted the martial arts genre, while Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) showcased his mastery of visual effects. He remains one of the highest-grossing film directors in Chinese-language cinema.

Filmography: The Butterfly Murders (1979); Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983); Once Upon a Time in China (1991); Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017)

Wo Ping Yuen headshot, Septet: The Story of Hong Kong co-director

Wo Ping Yuen

Hong Kong martial arts film director Wo Ping Yuen pioneered the kung fu comedy genre with his smash hit Drunken Master (1978), which launched Jackie Chan’s career as a major action star. Yuen’s films, from Tai Chi Master (1993) starring Jet Li, to Wing Chun (1994) starring Michelle Yeoh, are all martial arts masterpieces. His work on The Matrix (1999) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) made him an internationally renowned action choreographer. Yuen is a six-time winner of Best Action Choreography and a recipient of the Professional Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Filmography: Tai Chi Master (1993); Wing Chun (1994); True Legend (2010); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)