Archive - 11th Five Flavours Film Festival

Ann Hui: Portrait / Genre Classics

The Secret

Fung gip
Hong Kong 1979, 90’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Ann Hui
screenplay: Joyce Chan
cinematography: David Chung
editing: Yu Chan-fung
music: Lam Man-yee
cast: Sylvia Chang, Angie Chiu, Norman Tsui Sui-keung, George Lam, Kenneth Tsang
producer: Wu Sau-yee, Audrey Li
production: Unique
language: Cantonese
colouration: colour

Film description

Ann Hui's cinema debut is a story inspired by a murder that shook Hong Kong at the time. The head detective, Lin (Sylvia Chang) quickly discovers that conflicting statements and a multitude of leads won't bring the mystery to a simple close. Instead, the enigmatic crime leads her to the world of Chinese rituals and beliefs in stray ghosts. Formally, the clash of tradition and modernity in the British colony is enhanced by the multi-perspective narration, creating an ambiguous, multi-layered reality. Filled with the atmosphere of mystery and tension, Hong Kong is a fog-coated city full of secretive back alleys, where the protagonists are haunted by traumatic memories.

"The Secret" is a perfect example of how New Wave directors told mundane stories using Hollywood genre conventions and the auteur vision of the European filmmakers. The multitude of influences is best seen in the elaborate visual layer of the film, in which the color red refers both to the traditional Chinese symbolic, and to the use of color in classic Hollywood productions.


Restoration note

The restoration of "The Secret" was made from the internegative donated by Hong Kong Film Services to the Hong Kong Film Archive. After 2K film screening in 2015, digital restoration was undertaken by Magyar Nemzeti, the Hungarian film laboratory commissioned by the Archive.

As the internegative's soundtrack negative, opening and end credits are missing, respective elements have to be retrieved from VHS and Betacam SP tapes and put back to the film after frame rate adjustment. Digital restorations were then conducted with the aim of restoring the film back to its original quality at the time of its initial release by rectifying problems arising from film deterioration, including stabilisation of jittering images, deflickering, spots and fine scratches removal, colour grading, audio noise removal and synchronisation of image and sound, while any inherited defects of the film are kept untouched. The restored version is about 5 minutes longer than the 85-minute edition that has been circulating for years, bringing back to audience not just missing footage but more importantly a more original taste of the film.

> Interview with Bede Cheng about the film restoration


Emilia Skiba

Ann Hui

Born in 1947 in Manchuria. Graduate of the University of Hong Kong and London Film School. Director, screenwriter, producer, actress. One of the leading filmmakers of the Hong Kong new wave. Praised for works taking up controversial social issues, especially her Vietnam Trilogy.

Filmography:

1979 Tajemnica / Fung gip / The Secret

1982 Boat People. Uchodźcy z Wietnamu / Tau ban no hoi / Boat People

1990 Ke tu qui hen / Song of the Exile

1995 Letni śnieg / Nu ren si shi / Summer Show

1999 Qian yan wan yu / Ordinary Heroes

2008 Tacy jesteśmy / Tin Shui Wai dik yat yu ye / The Way We Are 

2009 Noc i mgła / Tin Shui Wai dik ye yu mo / Night and Fog 

2011 Proste życie / Tao jie / A Simple Life

2014 Złoty wiek / Huang jin shi dai / The Golden Era

2017 Nadejdzie nasz czas / Ming yue ju shi you / Our Time Will Come

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