drug addiction / rehabilitation / social welfare
Two women from complicated situations drift into drug addiction via different paths. Under the influence of her parent Mother Fong, an addict, Tsui becomes a user herself. Misfortune strikes when her boyfriend leaves after she becomes pregnant; with the added responsibility of a baby daughter, she succumbs to the pressure. Meanwhile SiuLai, to earn a living, becomes a dance-hall girl and subsequently gets into drugs, eventually ending up the willingly kept woman of a Triad boss. What can social worker Mrs LEE do to bring hope into their lives?
This film is one of the episodes of TV series Below the Lion Rock. This episode deals with drug addicts and the role of the rehabilitation system in a rather enlightening and indirect manner. While many other TV films produced by HUI maintain a certain distance from the characters and employ a dry touch in addressing issues, this episode dilutes the gravity of the issue via referencing it with other cultural commodities. For instance, whenever opium smoking scenes appear, the soundtrack is filled with the melody of 'Cavatina' featured in another drug-issue-related Hollywood film, The Deer Hunter (1978). The smoking scenes manage to occupy a space featuring both the grave revelations of social contradictions, alongside more cinematic depictions of vital social issues. Whenever the crucial plot points change, the soundtrack is filled with pop songs including 'My Fair Share' sung by Seals and Crofts in 1977. The film wants to halt audiences from being too engrossed in the social problems, as the insertion of such music numbers stops audiences from being overwhelmed. Unlike other episodes where the issues secure a certain distance from audiences, Road closes the gap in presenting the drug addiction problem. [LEE Yumi]
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Ann HUI was born in 1947 in Anju City, Liaoning Province, China, to a Nationalist Party clerk and a Japanese mother. Her family moved to Macau and then settled in Hong Kong. She found out her mother was Japanese when she was a teenager, as she assumed her mother spoke clumsy Cantonese because she was from another part of China. After receiving a Masters in English Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong, she studied filmmaking at the London Film School in UK in 1972. HUI returned from UK in 1974 and worked at the film department of Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) in Hong Kong. The TV films and dramas she produced at this time form the pre-history of Hong Kong's New Wave along with TV films from directors TSUI Hark, FONG Allen and YIM Ho. In particular, HUI dealt with social issues afflicting the lives of the middle and lower classes in Hong Kong in the series Below the Lion Rock, which was broadcast by Hong Kong's public broadcaster for decades, making her Hong Kong's leading socially-conscious film director. In 1979, she directed her first feature The Secret, a thriller that examined female oppression in traditional Chinese communities. Together with the directors who debuted around the same time, she led the New Wave era in Hong Kong. The story of Vietnamese refugees that began in From Vietnam (1978) in Below the Lion Rock was then linked to The Story of Woo Viet (1981) and Boat People (1982), completing the 'Vietnamese trilogy'. Since then, she has continued to capture the ever-evolving city of Hong Kong from her own perspective. Her filmography includes Song of the Exile (1990), which reflects on East Asian history by focusing on a mother-daughter relationship; the 'Vietnamese trilogy' which captures Hong Kong, a city of refugees and separated families; Summer Snow (1995), The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (2006), A Simple Life (2011) which reflect on the lives of middle-aged and older women in the city; The Way We are (2008), and Night and Fog (2009) which portray the ordinary lives of people in a city near the Chinese border after Hong Kong's return to China. Ann HUI has received Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement at Venice International Film Festival 2020.
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