Hong Kong director Ann Hui On-wah will be honored for her life's work at the Asian Film Awards today in recognition of classics such as Song of the Exile.
Hui, the first female director to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, is widely regarded as a pioneer of the New Wave of the 1970s and 1980s.
"Once you reach a certain age, you have to receive lifetime achievement award," the 64-year-old joked.
"But I can't afford to retire, so it puts me in a difficult situation. I'm feeling really honored though."
Hui has churned out classic after classic in more than 30 years as a filmmaker in a career which began with television dramas for TVB and bloomed with her first feature film The Secret in 1979.
Born in Liaoning province to a Japanese mother and Chinese father, Hui lived in Macau until she was five then moved with her family to Hong Kong.
She studied at the London International Film School before returning to Hong Kong to start a career, an experience loosely retold in one of her most important works, Song of the Exile, 22 years ago.
The film tells a story of disorientation and loss of identity as a young Chinese woman leaves her studies in London and comes back to Hong Kong to learn about her Japanese mother's past and her own troubled childhood.
Hui's most recent work, last year's A Simple Life received worldwide acclaim with its heart-warming tale about the relationship between a Hong Kong man and the servant who raised him.
Hui said she feels a responsibility to make a "record of the culture and heritage" of the city she lives in rather than "worrying about whether a story works commercially."
"I feel that in the past few years my films have been received well because Hongkongers seem to be more conscious and sensitive of their identity. I feel there has been more appreciation," she said.