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Archive - 11th Five Flavours Film Festival

The Way We Are

Tin Shui Wai dik yat yu ye
Hong Kong 2008, 90’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Ann Hui
screenplay: Lou Shiu-wa
cinematography: Charlie Lam
editing: Cheung Kan-chow
music: Charlotte Chan
sound: Leung Lik-chi, Tu Duu-chih
cast: Pai Hei-ching, Chan Lai-wan, Leung Chun-lung, Idy Chan, Clifton Ko
producer: Jing Wong
production: Class Limited, Mega-Vision Pictures
language: Cantonese
colouration: colour

Film description

Apartment buildings in Tin Shui Wai are a location in the New Territories no tourist would willingly go to while visiting Hong Kong. They were built in the late 1980s in place of an old fishermen’s district as an area for the poorest Hong Kong dwellers, and soon acquired quite a bad reputation in the media. The news coming from Tin Shui Wai spoke of unemployment, home violence, murders and suicides.

For the protagonists of her film, Ann Hui chose locals whose lives are very distinct from the media reality. She shows Tin Shiu Wai from the perspective of women, who wake up every morning to the struggle of providing for their families and building relations rooting them in the anonymous space of the apartment buildings. Cheung (Paw Hee-ching) is a widowed single mother working in a supermarket, and a skilled durian peeler. She befriends an older woman, Ms Kwai (Chan Lai-wun), whose life is also filled with everyday hardships. Their stories portray Hong Kong from the perspective of its inhabitants, whose modest effort have been building the current prosperity of the city for decades.

This low-budget production, made in a documentary convention, brought the director and the two actresses awards at the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards gala, and Ann Hui’s style was compared to the work of Yasujiro Ozu. The director continued her critically acclaimed portrait of Tin Shui Wai a year later in "Night and Fog" (7th Five Flavours), whose Chinese title includes the name of the location, this time showing it from the perspective of Chinese immigrants.

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.


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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