"The government doesn’t let us mix with foreigners. You’ll get us into trouble if you take photos here.”
Ann Hui had been working on a documentary for a Hong Kong network when she interviewed a number of ‘boat people,’ people fleeing Vietnam from the rule of China. This piqued her curiosity in the subject and defined her next two films, The Story of Woo Viet and Boat People. This ‘Vietnam Trilogy’ of hers, and particularly the last film, gave Ann Hui a boost in her career as it took off around the world, marking her as one of the Hong Kong New Wave directors. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close out our series on Hui as well as kick off a series on journalists with her 1982 film Boat People.
Boat People gives us the blank slate reporter we’ve been looking for.
There are many comments and reviews about this film that dislike the portrayal of the journalist as being too naïve. For us, it feels like a character choice and works well to set up the film as a journey for this photographer – our audience surrogate – as the layers are slowly peeled back to reveal what sort of atrocities are really going on in China-ruled Vietnam after the US left.
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