The duty of a director is to make good films! Although the times are different, the most serious issue for directors is the struggle between “purely local films” and “co-productions” with China. The problem with making “purely local films” is the lack of funds and the small scale. I believe this is the biggest problem faced by my generation. It’s easy to survive making co-productions, but it’s a difficult choice to make for directors. My wish is that my films are not only “local” and “co-produced” but also “international”.
Fruit Chan was born in 1959 in Hainan, China, later immigrating to Hong Kong. After graduation from secondary school, he became interested in film and studied scriptwriting and production at the Hong Kong Film Culture Centre, later working there. He entered the film industry in the early 1980s, working on continuity and as assistant director, for such filmmakers as Kirk Wong and Alfred Cheung. Chan joined Golden Harvest in 1984, working on over a dozen films as assistant director and other production positions.
In 1990, he directed his first film Finale in Blood, using existing sets on the studio lot, but the film was shelved, not released until three years later. He later directed Lonely Heart Quintet (1992), but the film was released only on video.
In 1995, Chan wrote a script and spent two years realizing it, directing on a shoestring budget with a crew of five and nonprofessional actors, often using short-ends and leftover film stock. The film was Made in Hong Kong (1997), which triggered enthusiastic local response followed by international acclaim, winning the Swissair/Crossair Special Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival. Chan was himself named Best Director by the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards, establishing him as a key figure in the post-Reunification cinema. Made in Hong Kong is now hailed as a milestone in Hong Kong independent cinema.
Chan continued to work in the independent mode, following with The Longest Summer (1998) and Little Cheung (1999), which, together with Made in Hong Kong, are known as the “1997 Trilogy”, offering portraits of Hong Kong around the time of the 1997 Reunification. Building on his international renown, Chan made Public Toilet (2002), shot on DV in China, South Korean and India with local actors. The film is the last chapter of his Prostitute Trilogy – the first two, Durian, Durian (2000) and Hollywood, Hong Kong (2001) -- featuring women of the sex trade in central roles, exploring social and political issues in China and Asia through their exploits.
Chan also directed the Japan-America co-production Don’t Look Up (2009), a remake of the Japanese horror film of the same name, starring Rachel Murphy and written by Brian Cox and Takahashi Hiroshi.
He won the Best Screenplay prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Durian, Durian (2000) and Best Director at the Golden Horse Awards for Hollywood, Hong Kong (2001).
Chan is an all-round filmmaker, often writing and editing his own scripts, sometimes even writing the scores. With an eye for gritty reality, he offers pointed comments on urban life through the stories of mostly working class characters. He also worked as a producer, with such titles A-1 Headlines (2004), Colour Blossoms (2004), Bliss (2006), Prince of Tears (2009) and Hot Summer Days (2010) to his credit.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Tales From the Dark|
||Quattro Hong Kong|
||Don't Look Up|
||Chengdu, I Love You|
||1:99||CHEUNG Mabel LAW Alex TSUI Hark CHAN Gordon CHEN Teddy LAU Andrew CHAN Peter MA Joe CHOW Sing Chi Stephen MAK Shiu Fai Alan LAM Dante|
||Hollywood, Hong Kong|
||The Longest Summer|
||Made in Hong Kong|
||Lonely Heart Quintet|
||Finale in Blood|