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
Timmy Hung, Francis Ng, Jennifer Yu, Yuen Wah, Ng Wing Sze, Simon Yam, Cheung Tat Ming
In Cantonese with English subtitles
More Films in this Series
Like a Fish on the Moon
When their seemingly happy four-year-old son stops talking, Haleh and Amir consult a series of experts, but it's not long before their own relationship begins to suffer. This superbly acted, spare, empathetic film is completely transfixing.
The Novelist's Film
Novelist Junhee is taking a break from writing, going on a daytrip to a small town where her encounters with friends, both old and new, causes her to reconsider an idea she has been mulling over: what if she were to write and direct her own film?
An engineer becomes entranced by the lure of the Alps, abandons his job, pitches his tent high above the snow line, and explores. This simple but remarkable movie goes high and deep. It will inspire and infuriate according to your taste for adventure.
Queens of the Qing Dynasty
Recovering from a suicide attempt, a neurodiverse Cape Breton teen is drawn into the orbit of a genderqueer hospital volunteer who hails from Shanghai. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the pair operate on identical idiosyncratic frequencies.
A Matter of Trust
In one summer afternoon in Denmark, lives are irrevocably changed. A Matter of Trust features five unrelated stories which are seamlessly woven as characters discover trust and mistrust between strangers and those with whom they are closest.
David Ondříček's thoroughly winning biopic tells the story of the legendary long distance runner Emil Zátopek, still the only man to have won Olympic gold medals in the 5000m, 10,000m, and the marathon in the same year (1952).
Timid foley artist Eva's latest project, creating sound effects for a medication commercial starring a dark bay horse, releases her inhibitions and transforms her physical form beyond the realm of possibility.
The Blue Caftan
Richly erotic and deeply moving, Maryam Touzani’s queer-themed film takes us to urban Morocco and into the lives of three beautiful souls. Halim is a master tailor; Mina is his loyal wife; Youssef is the man who slowly comes between them.
No Prior Appointment
An Iranian doctor returns to her home country after 30 years upon learning of her estranged father's death, bringing her young autistic son with her. Nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay at the 2022 Fajr Film Festival.
Veering away from the standard biopic, Paolo Taviani's latest film follows the ashes of celebrated Italian writer Luigi Pirandello on their journey back to Sicily, then ends with a blunt adaptation of one of his short stories.
Once Upon a Time in Calcutta
Aditya Vikram Sengupta explores the depths and vagaries of the human condition through an agoraphobic recluse, a young man working in a chit fund, and a TV host striking out for a new life against the backdrop of a crumbling, nostalgia-mired Calcutta.
Already enduring microaggressions and inept attempts at wokeness from her Manhattan employers, a Senegalese immigrant must also contend with supernatural figures manifesting in both her dreams and waking world. A haunting tale of immigration's realities.
Using tinted archival footage and shot in lush, saturated colours, Scarlet is a romantic coming-of-age period tale about a young woman who is ostracized by her small French village. Featured in 2022 Cannes Film Festival's Directors’ Fortnight.
Septet: The Story of Hong Kong
These shorts from seven of Hong Kong’s best filmmakers is an elegiac tribute to the city's past—and a subversive commentary on its present. From kung fu to the cultural politics of cuisine, the filmmakers mine their city's history with wit and poignancy.
Fernanda returns to her hometown of Goiás, Brazil, to scatter her adoptive mother's ashes and to learn the truth about her origins. In scenes infused with magical realism, she learns her disturbing family history and the limits of her strength.
Steely and determined tequila factory owner María Garcia (played by Teresa Sánchez) fights an uphill battle against nature, chance, and the impending global takeover of the local economy in Juan Pablo González' first narrative feature.
Based on a true story, Cioma Schönhaus, a young Jewish man living in 1942 Berlin, forges passports for Jewish people to escape the country. Instead of hiding, he impersonates military personnel so he can live life, risking discovery by the Gestapo.
In this thriller about a French couple starting a new life in rural Galicia, Spain, director Rodrigo Sorogoyen presents the feral underbelly of country life where tensions between foreigners and locals, educated and uneducated, brutally come to the fore.
Faced with the challenge of making movies under quarantine conditions, Andrew Bujalski came up with six two-handers, and shot each actor separately in this series of wry conversation pieces—a technical feat he carries off with casual elan.
A flashy new neighbour transforms the life of aging couple Meir and Tova, initially in ways that promise renewal, in this sharp Israeli comedy of manners, the Audience Award winner at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Sasson Gabay (The Band's Visit) stars.
In the aftermath of a young woman’s bloody murder in Paris—her identity shrouded in mystery—detective Jules Maigret (Gérard Depardieu) begins to unravel the strange details surrounding her life and death.
Waleed struggles with depression, married life, and writer’s block. Upon learning that his cocky new neighbour Jalal is indebted to some dangerous men, he starts tagging along for Jalal’s shake-downs, ostensibly as research for a crime novel.
Peter Lam, Richard Lui
Johnnie To, Elaine Chu
Sammo Hung, Au Kin Yee, Lou Shiu Wa, Melvin Luk, Patrick Tam, Yuen Wo Ping, Johnnie To, Yau Nai Hoi, Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark, Roy Szeto
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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
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)