Category IIB. Last year, Ann Hui’s “The Way We Are” was lauded for piercing through the media hype surrounding Tin Shui Wai and giving us an honest picture of ordinary people trying to get by in the so-called “City of Sadness.” It might come as a surprise, then, that her follow-up picture, “Night and Fog,” chooses to spotlight the more morbid aspects of life in the area. That said, the film is no less honest a piece of social realism than its earlier companion piece.
Everybody probably has a rough picture of life in Tin Shui Wai by now. Newspaper headlines tell us it’s a place where mothers throw their children out the window before leaping to their own deaths. Lawrence Lau’s “Besieged City” tells us it’s a triad hellhole plagued by underage prostitution, underage motherhood and underage murder. Yes, it seems pretty damn rough. Ann Hui’s “The Way We Are” challenges that picture.