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Song of the Exile

Song of the Exile
Directed by Ann Hui
Produced by Nai Chung Chou
Deng Fei Lin
Written by Nien-Jen Wu
Starring Maggie Cheung
Cinematography Zhiwen Zhong
Editing by Yee Shun Wong
Release date(s) 27 April, 1990
Running time 100 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin, English

Song of the Exile (客途秋恨, translit. Ke tu qiu hen) is a 1990 Hong Kong-Taiwanese film, a semi-fictionalised autobiography directed by Ann Hui. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


In 1973, 26-year-old Cheung Hueyin is abroad in London studying media. Receiving a letter from her mother, she returns to Hong Kong to attend her younger sister's wedding. The relationship between Hueyin and mother Aiko, who is Japanese, hadn't been stellar since childhood. From many flashbacks, we see it was Hueyin's paternal grandparents who did much of the early child-rearing, however, they would often overstep boundaries, resulting in family dysfunction.

Before the end of World War II and before eventually becoming Mrs. Cheung and Hueyin's mother, Aiko spent time living in Manchukuo. There, she and other Japanese faced serious dilemmas after Japan's defeat and the subsequent uncertainties of imprisonment and punishment. The most intense of these dilemmas came with the serious illness of Aiko's infant nephew. His illness was eventually cured by Mr. Cheung after a chance encounter and desperate roadside plea for help by Aiko. Mr. Cheung was an army translator from Guangdong, China with a background in traditional Chinese medicine. Aiko developed a sense of fondness for him upon seeing his actions and character. Aiko's brother concurred, mentioning that kindness toward children usually indicates a man of integrity. After Mr. Cheung escorted Aiko's family to the Japanese repatriation site, he revealed to Aiko a strong desire to be a romantic couple. The film focuses on Hueyin's journey of epiphany as she and Aiko visit Aiko's birthplace in Beppu, Japan, where many years of mother-daughter tension are finally reversed. The film ends with mother and daughter back home after the trip. Aiko encourages Hueyin to visit her relatives in Guangdong, where Hueyin finds out one of her very youngest relatives has a mental disability. The viewer is left to speculate on the artistic meaning of this ending.

Cast and roles

  • Maggie Cheung - Cheung Hueyin
  • Tan Lang Jachi Tian
  • Waise Lee - Mr. Cheung
  • Li Zi Xiong
  • Lu Hsiao-fen - Aiko (credited as Xiao Feng Lu)
  • Tien Feng - Hueyin's Grandfather (credited as Feng Tian)
  • Xiao Xiany
  • Yang Tinlan
  • Yinjian Quinzi



External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • HK cinemagic entry
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