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By Ashley Soo | July 12th, 2022

It is safe to say the 40th Hong Kong Film Awards that was supposed to happen last year, is finally a thing this July 17 — after postponing twice due to the pandemic. For Hong Kong cinephiles, 2020 and 2021 had been two big years thanks to multiple local blockbusters. The biggest surprise of all might be the variety of productions we saw — biopics, film adaptations, documentaries. This article lists eight of Hong Kong’s favorite productions from this year’s nomination list to watch before the Awards. 

Anita (梅艷芳)

To many, the legendary ’80s rockstar Anita Mui symbolizes Hong Kong’s core values — hard work and righteousness — while marking the city’s most glamorous days. Longman Leung’s Anita gives a detailed illustration of her rise from an amusement park performer to later an irreplaceable Cantopop icon. Louise Wong stars in the movie as Anita Mui and is nominated for Best Actress and Best New Performer for the role. The team’s effort to recreate the now-demolished Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park and Hong Kong in the past is acknowledged with Pater Wong, Dora Ng and Karen Yip being nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume & Makeup Design respectively. 

Where to watch: Disney+

Zero to Hero (媽媽的神奇小子)

Jimmy Wan’s Zero to Hero is another well-received production of 2021 and has been nominated 9 times in the Awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (x2), Best Supporting Actress and Best New Director, with a number of technical and musical score awards. Based on the true story of Hong Kong Paralympian So Wa-wai, the film records the story of how he overcame struggles to become a full-time athlete, as well as shining light on the city’s insufficient support for both active and retired athletes.

Where to watch: Netflix HK


After taking the Chinese-speaking cinema by storm with Tracey in 2018, Jun Li came back last year with DRIFTING. Starring Francis Ng, Loletta Lee Tse Kwan-ho and Will Or, the film is based on a true 2012 court case in which a group of homeless people in Sham Shui Po filed a lawsuit against the Hong Kong Government for demolishing their belongings during an armed crime investigation. DRIFTING is one of 2021’s most-nominated films, with its aforementioned main cast getting nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (x2), Best Supporting Actress, and Best New Performer. The discussion of social justice and equality it brought to the table is also acknowledged by the HKFA with nominations for Best Film and Best Screenplay.

Where to watch: iTunes, Disney+

Keep Rolling (好好拍電影)

You are seeing the trend here. Man Lim-chung’s Keeping Rolling is a documentary that follows the life of Ann Hui, director, producer and screenwriter of Boat People (1982), Summer Snow (1995), The Way We Are (2008), A Simple Life (2011) and more well-received productions. Man is an award-winning art director, also Hui’s lifelong friend and business partner. Keep Rolling encapsulates 40 hours of footage that spans four years into an hour and a half, where audience gets a sneak-peek into Hui’s hard work and life. The celebrated art director/first-time movie director is nominated for Best Director and Best New Director at the 40th Hong Kong Film Awards.

Where to watch: YouTube MoviesiTunes

One Second Champion (一秒拳王)

Directed by local band Tonick‘s Chiu Sin-hang, One Second Champion tells the story of Chow Tin-yen (played by Endy Chow), who decided to put his superpower of seeing one second ahead into a boxing career, fighting away his mid-life crisis. The production is nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Action Choreography and Best New Director. And of course, the soundtrack Origin of Time is also nominated for Best Original Film Song, living up to Tonick’s name. 

Where to watch: Disney+

Limbo (智齒)

Limbo, directed by Cheang Po-soi, is a crime film based on Lei Mi’s novel Wisdom Tooth. Taking a spin on the category of film Hong Kong cinema is famed for, Limbo employs a black-and-white color scheme in support of the dystopian city in depiction. The production is the most nominated film in the 40th HKFA with 14 nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, as well as multiple technical awards.

Where to watch: Disney+

Hand Rolled Cigarette (手捲煙)

Hand Rolled Cigarette is another well-received neo-noir crime film of 2020. The film is the winning project of the government-funded First Feature Film Initiative, directed by actor and first-time director Chan Kin-long. Uncovering a piece of Hong Kong’s forgotten history, Hand Rolled Cigarette follows Kwan Chiu (played by Gordon Lam), a British Hong Kong soldier who was not granted British citizenship, as he struggles to live as a triad member while forming a brotherly bond with Mani (played by Bipin Karma). Chan’s take on crime film receives nominations for Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best New Director alongside multiple technical awards.

Where to watch: viu

American Girl (美國女孩)

After receiving multiple awards in the 58th Golden Horse Awards, American Girl is nominated in Hong Kong for Best Asian Chinese Language Film. Directed by Feng-I Fiona Roan, the film is a semi-autobiographical story of the US-immigrant Fen Liang, who returned to Taiwan with her family as her mother suffers from breast cancer while living during the time of SARS. The film speaks to both first- and second-generation immigrants with a depiction of trivial cultural clashes between parent and child in everyday life. 

Where to watch: Netflix HK


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