July Rhapsody

Hong Kong | 2002 | 103 min. | Ann Hui

In Ann Hui’s internationally renowned 2002 masterpiece about the revelations of middle age, a high school teacher (recording sensation Jacky Cheung) who yearns for his simpler youth must navigate his troubled family life, his wife’s sick ex, and the interests of a lovestruck student. New 4k restoration.

A middle-aged teacher risks everything when he considers pursuing a relationship with a flirtatious teenage student. What’s on the line, though, is not what it seems. Lam Yiu-kwok appears to have a simple and satisfying life: He has a job he is passionate about, long-time friends, a stable marriage of 20 years, and two well-adjusted sons. Yet that veneer of normalcy slowly begins to slip away as a secret from the past reasserts itself unexpectedly. Hong Kong New Wave stalwart Ann Hui directs this masterfully restrained examination of what we sacrifice for others and what we owe ourselves. A standout amongst a career of triumphs, July Rhapsody (2002) sees Hui interrogating the insidious pressure to lead a conventional life and the damage we risk as a result. The languid pacing and understated performances bely a sneaky momentum, while the explicit normalcy of the film’s events lend them an unexpectedly recognizable emotional heft. By the time the film glides to its conclusion, the audience finds themselves confronted with final moments that are both quietly devastating and fully earned.

—Betsy Cass

  • Original Language Title: 男人四十
  • Director: Ann Hui
  • Principal Cast: Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, Karena Lam
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 103 min.
  • Producer: Ann Hui, Derek Yee
  • Screenplay: Ivy Ho
  • Cinematographers: Kwan Pun Leung
  • Editors: Kwong Chi Leung
  • Music: Tommy Wai Kai Leung
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Golden Horse Awards 2002 (Best Supporting Actress, New Performer, Screenplay), Hong Kong Film Awards 2002 (Best Supporting Actress, New Performer, Screenplay)
  • Filmography: Our Time Will Come (2017), A Simple Life (2011), Ordinary Heroes (1999)
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Cheng Cheng Films LLC