This time we have a few film recommendations from Derek Kwok, an emerging film director in Hong Kong who directed award-winning films such as The Pye-Dog and Gallants. His story and recommendations are going to provide positive energy to welcome in a new year.
Let’s first enter Derek’s dimension to get a behind the scene look at film making.
- A movie should entertain
Derek: I don’t see movie as a culture. My desire to watch a movie is very straightforward—to entertain. When light turns down in a cinema, it’s a great escape to a different world and a chance to release all your emotional tension. In this information abundant era, not everyone enjoys watching movies, but I feel very blessed that I do.
- The many coincidences
D: When you are so desperately focused on achieving your goal, things will fall into place. To produce a movie, you need to have the right idea and meet the right person at the right time. All of these factors must come together to make it happen. Since audience preference is not predictable, there’s no common trend to follow in films. And a movie that is made specifically to please audiences would simply not be appreciated. Hence nowadays investors are very open to a different film market. One must be persistent, always be prepared, and actively fight for the opportunity in order to succeed in producing. When chance comes along, take it. I have repeatedly produced what I believe in for years, but only when the right moment arrives do my movie channels connect with my audiences. Strangely, it did not happen before and might not after; the channel exists only right now.
- Happiness through hard work and suffering
D: There are people who find the film industry fun, but for me it means a lot of pain. Writing is not my cup of tea. I simply suffer from script writing to every other stage thereafter. Departing from an idea, vividly presenting the story in front of others, then finally making it sound and convincing to investors, is an extremely difficult task. Once going through the process, you will be communicating with many different areas. Each step takes a lot of effort and going back and forth, e.g. script is modified and re-modified. Finally, approaching the start of the film, you will suddenly realise that you are in huge trouble. After all, a movie is a project that involves many people and requires many coincidences to run smoothly. What makes it more painful is that the end product is seldom satisfying, only a few in one’s lifetime do, however these unsatisfied projects being out there in the market is a fact. The only way to wash away this disturbing aspect is to start a new project as soon as possible. The suffering cycle repeats itself. However, the repetition of pain fills the emptiness, and I feel real and able to achieve my happiness.
- Stir fried all-you-like
D: I didn’t think about being a film director at all. When I was younger, I wanted to be an illustrator. Later on, I noticed my interest in other areas too, characters, stories, music…
a movie is a simple summation of everything. In fact, I have not given up my initial interest. The screen is now my canvas and I brush it with a camera instead. And to write a good story, you must first touch yourself before anyone else. So I tend to mix everything I like in each piece of my work.
An individual style is generated through the blending of all like elements. For example, take the cast in Gallants. I always admire Leung Siu Lung and would like to work with him one day; I have a plan to create a role for Teddy whom I’ve known for years. Siu Yam Yam appears as a wicked Taiwanese woman, but once you get to know her you discover her inner side which is kind, calm and a little rugged. Such combination creates a chemical reaction and it’s absolutely unique, especially in Hong Kong. It’s hard to work with the same cast and crew. In the end, you may not be completely satisfied, but even with a second chance given, it is impossible to have the same set again. It happens only once.
- Carry on bravely, all routes lead to an exit
D: A rampage is required to pursue a goal. The collision generated can break down any obstacle. In reality, any route you take will lead to the exit. You just have to carry on bravely. When success is not forthcoming, follow the flow and never oppose the current. It will eventually take you to where you are meant to be. In my movies, a message of my belief is carried: hope in the dark. In Pye Dog, Eason was dying at the podium saying, “Weather forecast said tonight will be clear.” He says this before he dies with a smile. The intensity that was conveyed truly demonstrates my belief. Hope is the best motivation to bring forward. One must believe in the future to carry on. In 2000, when I first entered the industry, people said the industry was diminishing. And so? Here I am now. People from this moment also say the same. You just have to look at the bright side.
Stay tuned! Derek has just started filming a new movie about firemen. “Fire will end eventually, but it’s smoke, in fact, that makes their jobs to save lives challenging. The uncertainty portrays our fear of the future.” Facts cannot be changed, but it’s up to you how you want to view it.
Moonrise Kingdom, 2012
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Anderson and Roman Coppola
Two young pen pals make a secret plan to run away. Boy Scout Sam meets Suzy one summer while camping on an island and their friendship blossoms. The following summer, he brings camping equipment back to the island, while Suzy takes six books, a cat and a record player. The romance is kindled during their time together in the wilderness. The pair are eventually found in Moonrise Kingdom, a cove the two have claimed as their own. But their love story does not end there. Reignite pure childhood emotion and start making plans from nowhere. Let your destiny be your guide!
Life is beautiful
Directed by and starring Roberto Benigni
It begins as a witty romantic story featuring Guido, a Jewish Italian book keeper who successfully wins the heart of Dora and stops her from marrying her fiancé, an arrogant wealthy civil servant. The happy days get twisted during the Second World War when the whole family is sent to a concentration camp. Despite their grim reality, their son Giosuè is told that it’s a complicated game in which he must perform given tasks to earn points. The father’s laughter and amusement persist throughout the drama, even as he’s marched off to be executed. Finding hope in an incurable situation is the gift imparted to this young child of four and half years.
The king and queen of Terabithia are in fact two young fifth-grade kids, Jesse and Leslie. Their kingdom is a fantasy world across a stream where all the creatures exist in their imaginations, yet interestingly reflect their real lives. They both have feeling for each other but their love is brought to a tragic end when Leslie drowns in a river. A mission is left incomplete. Thereafter, the king of Terabithia and princess May have made the place even more magnificent.
翻譯 Ren Wan