Boat People

Among the most important films to come out of the Hong Kong New Wave, Ann Hui’s devastating Boat People focuses on the experiences of refugees forced to flee their country in the aftermath of the Vietnam War

A film with urgent contemporary resonance, Boat People sees Ann Hui documenting the hopelessness felt by many and how the severity of life post-War led to people to take the dangerous decision to step into boats in hope of a better existence. For her fourth feature, which screened as part of the Official Selection at Cannes, the director takes a deeply humanistic approach to a harrowing and urgent subject.

Three years after the Communist takeover, a Japanese photojournalist (George Lam) travels to Vietnam to document the country’s seemingly triumphant rebirth. When he befriends a teenage girl (Season Ma) and her destitute family, however, he begins to discover what the government doesn’t want him to see: the brutal, often shocking reality of life in a country where political repression and poverty have forced many to resort to desperate measures in order to survive.



This screening is a joint presentation by Focus Hong Kong and The Garden Cinema’s Chinese Cinema strand.

Supported by the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office London.


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