If there’s anyone who reflects the everyday lives of Hongkongers in his movies, it’s Fruit Chan. The Hong Kong Second Wave director is a triple threat—filmmaker, producer and screenwriter. Chan became a household name after making Made in Hong Kong in 1997, which earned him several local and international film awards.
Since then, Chan has continued to work on movies that showcase the ordinary lives of middle-class Hongkongers. With 40 years of experience under his belt, Chan remains one of Hong Kong’s most prolific directors.
This year, he’s participating at Hong Kong Art Centre’s first-ever New Waves, New Shores: Busan International Film Festival in Hong Kong to assist budding filmmakers from the city and South Korea and exchange cultural dialogue. In addition to his movies screening at the independent film festival, Chan will also be participating in a masterclass with renowned South Korean screenwriter, Chung Seo-kyung.
Ahead of the festival—which starts on November 25—Tatler sits down with Chan to talk about his 40-year-long career in the movie industry and what he has learned about himself all these years.
You’ve been in the Hong Kong film industry since the 1980s. How has it changed?
Of course, there are a lot of changes and the changes are significant. However, 40 years have passed since the 1980s, and everything has begun to stabilise. In the past, the movie industry in other countries was still developing. Hong Kong has had Cantonese and Mandarin movies since the 1960s but the movie industry didn’t take off until the New Wave in the 1980s where we saw a lot of new directors.
The Hong Kong movie scene is affected by many different factors right now. Maybe it’s time to take a break and hope it may revive in the future.
You’re an all-rounder—director, screenwriter, producer and editor. Do you have a preference?
I prefer being a director for sure. I started making independent films, and then I switched to doing mainstream movies. To make independent films, you have to understand everyone’s responsibilities and do all the work. Sometimes you have to take care of other positions and you can’t rely on people.
You’ve also made films across multiple genres. Do you have an affinity for a certain one?
Hong Kong directors need to make a wide range of genres. I don’t have a preference for the kind of film that I make. Usually, I am attracted by the story at first and then I consider the market, but I can’t guarantee that the movie will be popular.
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