Better Days

  • 2019, Putonghua, 135mins, DCP, Colour

After making a splash with Soul Mate (2016), actor-turned-director Derek Tsang takes a major artistic leap with his second solo directorial effort, an adaptation of the novel Young and Beautiful by Jiuyue Xi. After witnessing a classmate’s suicide, straight-A student Chen Nian suddenly finds herself targeted by a vicious school bully and her friends even as she is trying to prepare for the notoriously difficult college entrance exam known as “gaokao”. Chen Nian finds salvation when Xiao Bei, a young small-time hoodlum who has also been abandoned by his family, agrees to protect her. An unflinching exposé of bullying and other insurmountable pressures that students face in mainland China, Tsang’s spellbinding youth drama made Hong Kong cinema history as being the first film by a Hong Kong-born director to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature Film.

Festivals & Awards

Academy Awards: Nominee for Best International Feature Film

Hong Kong Film Awards: 8 awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best New Performer

Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards: Best Director and Film of Merit

Udine Far East Film Festival: Golden Mulberry Award and Black Mulberry Award

Golden Rooster Awards: Best Actress and Best Editor

International Film Festival & Awards Macao: Best Actress (New Chinese Cinema)

Osaka Asian Film Festival: Audience Award

Hong Kong International Film Festival

Director's Biography

Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang graduated from the University of Toronto and worked in film production at Applause Pictures after returning to Hong Kong. He began acting in films in 2001. In 2010, he co-directed Lover’s Discourse with Jimmy Wan. The two female leads in his first solo directorial effort, Soul Mate (2016) , won the Best Actress prize for both lead actresses at the Golden Horse Awards. His latest directorial effort, Better Days (2019), won eight prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards and was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.


Director Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang
Producer Jojo Yuet-chun Hui
Scriptwriter Lam Wing-sum, Li Yuan
Xu Yimeng
Cinematographer Yu Jing-Pin
Editor Zhang Yibo
Art Director Liang Honghu
Music Varqa Buehrer
Sound Joe Huang
Cast Zhou Dongyu, Jackson Yee
Production Goodfellas Pictures Limited, Fat Kids Production
World Sales We Distribution Limited