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Ann Hui’s Song of the Exile

Audrey Yue

Publication Year: 2010

The resolutely independent filmmaker Ann On-wah Hui continues to inspire critical acclaim for her sensitive portrayals of numerous Hong Kong tragedies and marginalized populations. In a pioneering career spanning three decades, Hui has been director, producer, writer and actress for more than 30 films. In this work, Audrey Yue analyses a 1990 film considered by many to be one of Hui’s most haunting and poignant works, Song of the Exile. The semi-autobiographical film depicts a daughter’s coming to terms with her mother’s Japanese identity. Themes of cross-cultural alienation, divided loyalties and generational reconciliation resonate strongly amid the migration and displacement pressures surrounding Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Even now, more than a decade after the 1997 Handover, the film is a perennial favourite among returning Hong Kong emigrants and international cinema students. This book examines how Hui challenges the myth of the original home as singular, familial and romantic, and constructs the second home as a new space for Hong Kong modernity. Yue also discusses the teaching of the film in the diaspora, demonstrating its potential as an affective and performative text of transcultural literacy and diasporic negotiations in the cross-cultural classroom.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vi

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Series Preface

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pp. vii-ix

The New Hong Kong Cinema came into existence under very special circumstances, during a period of social and political crisis resulting in a change of cultural paradigms. Such critical moments have produced the cinematic achievements of the early Soviet cinema, neorealism...


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-6

Song of the Exile was released in Hong Kong from 27 April 1990 to 16 May 1990, and grossed over HK$3,071,212 (MPIA 1990). Produced by Cos Group and distributed by Golden Harvest, the film consolidated the career of the director, Ann On-wah Hui, Hong Kong’s ‘most influential director in the ’80s’...

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1 - The Diasporas of Hong Kong

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pp. 7-48

Song of the Exile traces the postwar life of a Japanese woman married to a Chinese Nationalist soldier, her adolescent daughter’s discovery of her mother’s ethnicity, and their reconciliation as she accompanies her homesick mother back to her native town in Japan. Moving deftly between the past and the present through a series of extended flashbacks, the story takes place across China, Britain...

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2 - Re-turn to Hong Kong: Authorship, Memory, Intimate Biography

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pp. 49-88

Ann Hui is best known internationally as one of the very few successful female directors working in a male-dominated industry. From early art house films such as Song of the Exile to the more contemporary and commercial The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, Hui has been consistently described as a ‘woman filmmaker’ (Doraiswamy 1990: 22)...

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3 - Teaching Song of the Exile in the Diaspora: Minor Cinema, Transcultural Literacy and Border Pedagogy

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pp. 89-124

As Hong Kong cinema continues its ascendency into the global film circuits, Hong Kong films are increasingly incorporated as key texts in the disciplines of cinema, cultural and media studies in Asia and the West. The feminist art house style of Song of the Exile is often used as a counterpoint to the popular genres of swordplay, martial arts and heroic action...


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pp. 125-128

Awards and Nominations

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pp. 129-130

Ann Hui’s Filmography

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pp. 131-132


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pp. 133-148

E-ISBN-13: 9789882206113
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888028757

Page Count: 142
Illustrations: 11 b/w illus
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 707092898
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ann Hui’s Song of the Exile

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Ke tu qiu hen (Motion picture).
  • Xu, Anhua.
  • Culture conflict in motion pictures.
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