A quarter of a century ago, Hong Kong faced the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China. At the same time, Clara Law released Floating Life – the first Australian film to tackle the Asian migrant experience.
In its new NFSA restoration, the conflicts at the heart of the film between cultures, country and family remain as relevant as ever. The story centres on the Chan family, who find themselves riven between the disparate desires of their children and the cultural challenges of adapting to Australian life.
Earning nominations for both Law and her co-screenwriter (and husband) Eddie Fong at the 1996 Australian Film Institute Awards (now AACTA), Floating Life also features the talents of cinematographer Dion Beebe. Beebe went on to win an Academy Award for Memoirs of a Geisha.
“Floating Life represents some kind of turning point in Australian cinema in that it establishes … the creation of an Asian-Australian cinema.” – Senses of Cinema