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e-wave to new wave: Life as Art, Life as Dream - Allen Fong in Retrospective

e-wave to new wave:
Life as Art, Life as Dream - Allen Fong in Retrospective

Among television directors who made the leap to cinema in the late 1970s, Allen Fong has had a distinguished career and a bumpy one as well. Despite the plaudits he received in his early years at the RTHK, he did not venture into film until 1981, probably the last one among his peers, but garnered immediately the most important awards for his first two projects. However the eight years that followed only saw him turning in four films, and his latest work has to date back to 2000.

Too often, Allen Fong's works are labeled as mundanely realistic and without commercial or entertainment value, both in and outside of the industry. The poetic and nuanced sentiments behind his "realism" have largely gone unappreciated. Still, instead of conforming to the mainstream, he patiently treads his own path of innovation and stays true to his passion. Such creative spirit is indeed a rare find in Hong Kong cinema.

This retrospective chronicles the director's life as a genuine artist and showcases his diverse oeuvre, which has much more to offer than mere "realism". "Life as Art, Life as Dream" only points out the major topics of concern for Allen Fong: the performing art is a medium for him to experience life; memories and dreams are ingredients for him to reconstruct the past, and thereby to look ahead into the future. His films are invariably inspired by real-life characters and stories often left open-ended. The filming process is not a means but the end itself, the narrative being an avenue for him to explore the truth in life without necessarily coming to a dramatic conclusion. His determination to remain faithful to reality often alienates him from audiences who look for "complete" drama. But in another sense, the process itself can always be refreshing, endearing, and quietly moving.

Throughout the 1980s, Allen Fong insisted on realizing his youthful experiences and fantasies in his experimental approach, which made him the most uncompromising pioneer among New Wave
filmmakers. His endeavuor to open up new avenues in cinematic aesthetics might have gained a fair share of recognition. All of these, however, inevitably marginalized him in the film industry.

It is my hope that this retrospective would inspire audiences who share the same passion for art and life, and at the same time provide them with a platform to re-acknowledge Allen Fong's unique achievements. Here I extend my gratitude to the RTHK and all the film companies who have generously lent us their support. My thanks also go to Allen Fong and his friends and associates. Their participation has made this programme an occasion where kindred spirits can gather again.

Law Kar, Guest Programmer

Last Updated On :16-6-2009