Producer, scriptwriter and director Fruit Chan had his breakthrough with the ultra-low-budget "Made in Hong Kong" (1997), which landed him overnight success. "The Longest Summer" (1998) and "Little Cheung" (1999) earned him a reputation as an artistic director in the Hong Kong independent film world, yet he has also produced successful commercial genre films. As a versatile and interesting filmmaker, how does Chan find inspiration for his offbeat works? How did he find his path to creating his most memorable characters and discovering young talented actors like Sam Lee and Qin Hailu?
Curated and hosted by veteran film researcher Law Kar, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Movie Talk" series which started in April will focus on Chan in October, after having director Ivy Ho and avant-garde movie director Chiu Kang-chien as the series' previous guests. Three works by Chan will be shown for audiences to gain an in-depth understanding of his work.
"Movie Talk III: Fruit Chan" will be held at 4pm on October 13 at the HKFA's Cinema. Chan will discuss his filmmaking experiences with the audiences and his ways of making meaningful local films with a limited budget, and how to stretch creative muscle in today's Hong Kong. The talk will be conducted in Cantonese with free admission.
The films Chan selected to be shown are his non-commercial genre films "Little Cheung" and "Durian Durian" (2000), which will be shown at 2pm and 4.30pm respectively on October 12. In addition, three of his short films - "Tales from the Dark part 1" (2013), "Chengdu, I Love You: 1976 Segment" (2009) and "A+B=C" (2006) - will be shown at 2pm on October 13 before the talk.
Each instalment of the "Movie Talk" series will focus on a filmmaker who will select three screenings either made by themselves or filmmaking counterparts for screening. Audiences in the discussion sessions will join the host in watching clips of the selected films and gain a better understanding of the featured guests' experiences and art during the sharing of the inspirations and processes behind each filmmaker's creative work.
Chan has a soft spot for the enchanting urban fairy tale "Little Cheung". In the film, he explored a pivotal year in Hong Kong's contemporary history through the eyes of a local boy and a young illegal immigrant and transformed the messy streets of Mong Kok into an urban wonderland for kids. Adults may have seen the city as a place of uncertainty, family feuds and civil unrest, but the kids saw a colourful playground to roam about.
As the quasi-spinoff of "Little Cheung", Chan's "Durian Durian" is more of a contemplative neo-realism drama that chronicles the lives of two women living temporarily in a strange land. The film is sparsely plotted, but its characters are intricately and delicately drawn.
In addition to working in non-commercial genres, Chan has also proven to be equally capable of handling commercial films. His works include "Three: Dumplings" (2004) and "Tales from the Dark part 1", and he also produced high-profile projects like "Colour Blossoms" (2004), "Prince of Tears" (2009) and "Hot Summer Days" (2010). Ten years ago, Chan began working up north in Mainland China and made short films like "Chengdu, I Love You" (2009), as well as the web-based shorts "Xi'An Story" (2006) and "A+B=C", which were both made before the term "micro-film" began trending online. He has proved that short films can be as fascinating as feature-length films.
Starring Siu Yam-yam and Lo Hoi-pang, his recent work "Tales from the Dark part 1" is a wicked ghost tale on the local superstition practice "Villain Hitting". In his "1976" segment of "Chengdu, I Love You", set in the final days of the Cultural Revolution, Chan depicts the normal life of a family that doesn't seem to be aware of the great societal changes coming their way. Chan's first Mainland Chinese micro-film "A+B=C" is a gripping relationship melodrama about lust, infidelity and infertility. "Chengdu, I Love You: 1976 Segment" and "A+B=C" have not been shown publicly in Hong Kong cinemas.
"Little Cheung" and "Tales from the Dark part 1" are in Cantonese; "Chengdu, I Love You: 1976 Segment" and "A+B=C" are in Mandarin and "Durian Durian" is in Mandarin and Cantonese. All films have Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999 or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 69" leaflet, which is distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2013mt3/2013mt3_index.html.
Ends/Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:30
A film still of "Durian Durian" (2000).
A film still of "Little Cheung" (1999).
A film still of "Tales from the Dark part 1" (2013).
A film still of "Chengdu, I Love You: 1976 Segment" (2009).
A film still of "A+B=C" (2006).