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Carry On Bravely

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.

今期執導獲獎電影《野·良犬》和《打擂台》的香港新晉導影郭子健,為我們介紹幾部電影,希望他的故事和誠意推介,為新一年帶來一些積極的生氣。

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.

Gallants 2010
Directors: Clement Sze-Kit Cheng, Chi-kin Kwok
Siu-Lung Leung plays Dragon

Gallants 2010
Practicing Siu-Lung Leung plays Dragon in the film

  • 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.

The Pye-Dog (2007)
Yuan Lin plays Miss Cheung

The Pye-Dog (2007)

 

  • 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.

The Pye-Dog (2007)
Chun-fai Man

  • 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.

我們要先嘗試從這位幕後製作人的角度觀察電影製作。

  • 電影應富娛樂性

郭:我不認為電影是一種文化。我希望看到一部單刀直入的電影,即是富娛樂性的電影。戲院關燈播放電影,正好讓觀眾走進另一個世界,釋放所有緊張情緒。在這個資訊爆炸的年代,不是人人都享受看戲的,我慶幸仍有這種福氣。

  • 很多的巧合

郭:當你全神貫注去達成一個目標時,就會覺得萬事俱備。要製作一部電影,你需要有適當的理念,在適當的時間遇到適當的人;要集合所有要素才能成事。觀眾的口味是無從預測的,電影並沒有潮流這回事。一部為取悅觀眾而製作的電影最終或許不會受欣賞。但現在的投資者都接受了不同的電影市場。我們一定要堅持到底、做好準備,積極爭取機會才會成功製作好片。機會來時就要爭取。我一直專注於多年以來都深信會成功的製作,但仍需要有適當的時機,我的電影才可以與觀眾產生連繫。很奇怪,這個連繫沒有早來,也不可能遲來,它只存在於此時此刻。

  • 取樂於辛勤刻苦

郭:很多人覺得電影行業很有趣,我則覺得很辛苦。寫東西不是「我杯茶」。從編劇到最後一個步驟,我都覺得很辛苦。有了一個構思後,就要賣力介紹構思,講得有聲有色以說服投資者,這些都是非常困難的。過了這個關口後,就要開始與各方溝通。每步都需要很大的努力和交涉,例如劇本都要一改再改。到快要開拍的時候,你就會忽然意會到大禍臨頭了。畢竟,一部電影是一個涉及很多人的項目,需要很多的巧合才會順利進行。更甚的是,你總是不滿意製成品的,能令你滿意的畢生只得幾回。但是事實上,這些你不滿意的項目最終確實是流入市場。為了不再為之困擾,唯一的方式就會盡快開展另一個新項目。這個辛苦過程只會周而復始,但這個痛苦的循環可以填充空虛感,讓我感到實在,感到自己能夠為自己帶來快樂。

  • 所有最愛共冶一爐

郭:我從沒想過有一天會做導演。年輕時的我想當插圖師的。後來我發現自己對其他事物感興趣,例如構思角色、故事和音樂等。一部電影就會將所有東西綜合起來。其實我沒有放棄最初的興趣。現在銀幕就是我的畫布,只是改用攝影機繪畫而已。要寫個好故事,就必需先感動你自己。我會將自己最喜歡的東西混入每一部作品中。

一個角色是很多相近元素的融合。以《打擂台》的角色舉例說,我一直很欣賞梁小龍,很希望有機會與他合作。我本身已打算為認識多年的泰迪羅賓設計一個角色。邵音音看似一個台灣妖女,但和她混熟後你就會發現她的內心其實很善良淡定,而且有點堅強。這個組合擦出點火花,而且非常特別——尤其是在香港。和同一個角色和工作團隊合作很難的。到最後你可能不盡滿意,但即使有機會再拍一次,也不可能拍到同樣的效果。一幕戲只存在一剎的。

  • 勇往向前走,條條大路通出口
  • 郭:要達成目標就要橫衝直撞,有碰撞可會擊破任何障礙。在現實生活中,勇往向前走,條條大路通出口,你只需要勇敢地走下去。即使落空了亦可順其自然前行,不要逆流而上,最終總會找到你的去向。我的電影體現了我的信念:黑暗中見希望。在《野·良犬》裡陳奕迅死前在講台上說:「天氣預報說今晚將是天晴的。」他臨死前說這句話仍面帶微笑。這一幕所表達的震憾正好力證明了我的信念。希望就是前進的最佳動機,我們必須相信未來。2000年我初入行時,人人都說這個行業正在式微。那又如何?我還是走到這個位置了。現在的人也說同一句話,但人需要向好處看的。

密切留意!郭子健剛開拍一部關於消防員的新片。「火終歸會熄滅,但令消防員的工作很棘手的是煙。前景模糊,這一幕描繪了我們對未來的恐懼。「事實是定局,但你可以選擇角度。」

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Movie Recommendations

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.

Bridge to Terabithia
Directed by Gábor Csupó
Based on a novel by Katherine Paterson

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