SEPTET: THE STORY OF HONG KONG
七人樂隊Directed by Ann Hui, Johnnie To, Patrick Tam, Ringo Lam, Sammo Hung, Tsui Hark, Yuen Woo-ping
Official Selection, 2020 Cannes Film Festival
Audience Award, 2020 Tokyo FILMeX
Opening Film, 2021 Hong Kong International Film Festival
Years in the making and finally released to the world, SEPTET: THE STORY OF HONG KONG assembles a dream team of 1990s Hong Kong directors to tell—short film by short film, decade-by-decade—the lived history of a city slipping from view. From coming-of-age as students in the 1950s and 60s, to finding one’s bearings in the uncertain years that followed, SEPTET revels in old hopes and teenage passions, dreams of fast cash and family togetherness.
It’s also a dream of the old Hong Kong New Wave, imagining its luminaries still working together, still shooting on 35mm, not yet making movies up north. Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo-ping’s entries reflect on Hong Kong’s kung fu yesteryear. Ann Hui pays tribute to the simple life of teachers and mentors. Patrick Tam takes a rare seat in the director’s chair to re-arouse first love. Johnnie To, the ringleader of the project, remembers the SARS outbreak through the eyes of three young investors. In his final work before his 2018 passing, Ringo Lam takes us to the central crossroads, where reunions are thwarted by changing landscapes. And Tsui Hark does Tsui Hark: a winking fantasy set in a futuristic hospital, a Hong Kong no longer recognizable to itself.
For decades, Hong Kong had been a city of nostalgia. SEPTET is nostalgia for nostalgia, a leftover affect haunting a present in pain. For these old-timers, only sentiment remains—for a city, its history, and its ordinary heroes.
Co-Presented by The Hong Konger Club.