Ann Hui

One of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed film directors, prolific auteur Ann Hui makes movies that shine a light on people who are usually silenced and marginalised


Ann Hui has spent a career stretching back decades quietly telling the stories of people to whom the culture often fails to give a voice, including refugees, housewives and domestic helpers. Deeply humanistic, her slice-of-life dramas focus on everyday reality, shot in a down-to-earth, undramatic style, and often tackle taboo subjects.

Born in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, Hui moved to Hong Kong as a small child, and got her start in the 1970s producing documentaries and dramas for TV. She won a Golden Horse Award (Best Feature Film) for her second film, The Secret (1979), and has since won the Best Director gong three times, along with six Best Director trophies at the Hong Kong Film Awards and a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020.

Among Hui’s best-known works are Summer Snow (1995), The Way We Are (2008) and A Simple Life (2011), while she is also a former president of the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild. Generally avoiding publicity, she was nonetheless the subject of a documentary, Keep Rolling, in 2020, which celebrates her life and decades-long career—and which, with characteristic modesty, she described to Tatler in the same year as “almost embarrassing”.

(Photo: Raul Docasar)

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Did you know?

It took Ann Hui 17 years to complete Eighteen Springs (1997), an adaptation of an Eileen Chang romance novel, because she was unable to shoot on location in Shanghai.

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