Song of the Exile

From the Chicago Reader (August 1, 1991). — J.R.


A lovely autobiographical feature by Boat People‘s Ann Hui, set in 1973. A young Chinese woman (Maggie Cheung) studying in London is summoned back to Hong Kong to attend her younger sister’s wedding, and finds herself in frequent conflict with her Japanese mother (Chang Shwu-Fen) until she accompanies her mother on her first trip back to Japan since being married. In Japan the daughter experiences much of the same cultural estrangement her mother went through when she came to China, and gradually the bond between mother and daughter becomes closer. Much of this is an interesting lesson for Westerners about some of the vast differences between Chinese and Japanese life. (A major problem for the daughter is the language barrier, and on a few occasions she can get by only in English.) Hui’s sensitive handling of her actors and her keen feeling for family dynamics never falter (1990).(JR) (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, August 24, 4:00, and Monday, August 26, 6:00 and 8:00, 443-3737)

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