'Septet: The Story of Hong Kong' set for release

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 18, 2022
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"Septet: The Story of Hong Kong", an anthology film made by seven of the most renowned Hong Kong filmmakers will be released on the Chinese mainland on July 29. Its Hong Kong release date is July 28.

A poster of "Septet: The Story of Hong Kong" [Image courtesy of Media Asia]

Produced by Johnnie To, the omnibus film by Sammo Hung, Ann Hui, Patrick Tam, Yuen Woo-ping, Johnnie To, Ringo Lam, and Hark Tsui, is a collection of Hong Kong stories, each directed by a different director through their unique artistic vision, illustrating different time periods of the city. 

"Septet" was also the last directing work of the late Ringo Lam, who died on Dec. 29, 2018.

Actors and actresses involved include Simon Yam, Francis Ng, Yuen Wah, Timmy Hung, Cheung Tat Ming, Lam Suet, Lawrence Lau, Emotion Cheung, Jennifer Yu, Mimi Kung and Sire Ma.

The film spans the period from the 1950s to the present. Each director had to handle one decade. Production for "Septet" took place off and on over four years.

In his episode, Sammo Hung, producer, Kung fu actor and director, goes back to the 1950s and restrictive school of dance and martial arts. Ann Hui reflects on educational boom in the 1960s. Patrick Tam, the New Wave director, portrays the 1980s from the perspective of two teenagers facing the prospect of separation. Yuen Woo-ping, legendary choreographer and director of action movies created an intimate story about an older man and his little granddaughter. 

However, the 1970s segment is lost, since the title of the film was changed from "Eight & a Half" to "Septet" due to John Woo's departure from the project. This was believed due to his health problems.

Directors of "Septet: The Story of Hong Kong" shoots their part on set. [Photos courtesy of Media Asia]

Johnnie To narrates a story showing the fate of three friends looking for opportunities to quickly enrich themselves in a dynamically developing city in the 2000s. Ringo Lam tells a story of the return to Hong Kong of an emigrant rediscovering his hometown in the 2010s. Tsui Hark has decided to look to the future in his episode, the story evolving in a psychiatric hospital with a therapeutic conversation between doctor and patient taking an unexpected turn in the 2020s.

In addition, filmmakers of "Septet" returned to their artistic roots and shot it entirely on 35mm film rather than digital cameras, as the project is originally intended as filmmakers' farewell to 35mm film, a summary of extraordinary history of Hong Kong cinema and as an inspiration to young Hong Kong filmmakers.

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