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Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710



Ann Hui’s A Simple Life became a box office sensation in 2012 and a favourite of the critics. Responding to both the mainland film industry’s hegemonic development and the production of ‘authentic Hong Kong cinema’ over the past decade, A Simple Life sheds light on the efforts of Hong Kong film-makers to explore an alternative local identity following the first decade of Chinese rule. This article situates A Simple Life amidst the Hong Kong film industry’s massive migration to Mainland China, and demonstrates the paradoxes embedded in producing and promoting ‘authentic Hong Kong cinema’. It also conducts a close reading of Ann Hui’s unique cinematic language in this work and argues that A Simple Life, though carrying pronounced Hong Kong cultural indicators, reveals awareness of the constructed nature of the ‘authenticity’ in its peer works. Overall, by situating A Simple Life in the broader and significant transformation of the Chinese film industry this article explores how Hui’s film offers an alternative imagination of Hong Kong local identity in the new millennium.


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