Two troubled secondary-school students—a spoiled underachiever and a “bad boy”—and a struggling music teacher go on a journey of self-discovery and allyship when they reluctantly take part in a musical at a school for students with special needs.
"Should be required viewing in some circles."—The Hollywood Reporter
With his tender, socially conscious film Distinction, director Jevons Au follows three characters and illuminates an unhealthy educational system that provides little sympathy for students with mental and physical disabilities: Ms. Tsu (Jo Koo), a music teacher at a school for students with disabilities, is assigned the task of supervising an extracurricular musical production; Zoey (Jennifer Ku) is an underachiever at a high-achieving school who volunteers to help with the production so she can earn extra credit and appease her parents; Ka Ho (Kaki Sham) is a poor, rebellious student who lives with his brother with a mental disability, and has no choice but to get involved with the musical lest he be kicked out of school. Because Hong Kong's mainstream community views musical theater as a frivolous waste of time, no one initially wants to be involved with the production. However, it ultimately gives them a renewed sense of purpose, and teaches them about potential within themselves that had previously been lying dormant. Although Au is clearly targeting people and institutions that systematically fail children with mental disabilities, Distinction also shines a light on attitudes that are detrimental to the emotional development of kids, who are encouraged to disregard passion projects in favor of achieving arbitrary standards.
After graduating from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts' School of Film and Television in 2004, Au wrote and directed various award-winning independent short films. His short film Merry X'mas (2007) won the second Fresh Wave Short Film Competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and he co-directed the feature film Ten Years (2015), which won the Best Film Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, KNKX
- Original Language Title: 非同凡響
- Director: Jevons Au
- Principal Cast: Jo Koo, Jennifer Yu, Kaki Sham, Chung King-fai, Stephen Au
- Country: Hong Kong
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 100 minutes
- Producer: Winnie Tsang, Catherine Wong
- Screenplay: Jevons Au, Ashley Cheung, Chuiyi Chung
- Cinematographers: Zhang Ying
- Editors: Emily Leung
- Music: Charles Lau, Martin Lai
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Trivisa (2016)
- Language: Cantonese
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- International Sales: Golden Scene Company Limited