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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with Derek Yee
One Night in Mongkok 2/3 - Page 3
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 6/1/2005
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Fruit Chan Gor
Cecilia Cheung Pak Chi
Daniel Wu Yin Cho
Movies :
New Police Story
Lexic :
< Previous
Page 2 : One Night in Mongkok : origins
Next >
Page 4 : One Night in Mongkok : Collaborators

HKCinemagic : Why did you choose Mongkok as unique location?
Derek Yee : Mongkok [literally means “populated corner”] is a very unique place in Hong Kong , at one time it was very densely populated, which means that it was the most densely populated area in the world. You can find all sort of life. At one time, people will look at it as the Harlem district in New York or Sinjuku in Tokyo . Take a trip to Mongkok when you find some time. It is an extremely interesting area, on one side of the street you find a lot of shops for youngsters, a very good place, and on the other side you find crime, gangsters and prostitutes. You should go to check out the back alleys. That's where you see the real action, the real side of Mongkok, beside the glamorous part. It's quite safe, so don't worry about that, but it's better to go there during day time!
HKCinemagic : You manage to restitute perfectly the atmosphere of this area in HK. Do you feel close to this place?
Derek Yee : No, I didn't grow up in this area. But Mongkok is a very dynamic place and it keeps evolving, and evolving, and evolving… and I foresee that it's going to carrying on for many years. I believe that prostitution started in Mongkok and expanded to other areas like TsimShaTsui, Yau Ma Tei. Mongkok is the origin. Also, if you go at different times, you find prostitutes all different. If you go in the morning, you find a certain group of them, if you go in the afternoon, another group. This is for different group of customers. It is a very amazing place, there is no start and no end to prostitution, it goes on and on; 24 hours a day. It's like people don't need to rest.

I got to know this while doing my research for the movie. But it is getting a bit difficult now [for me to venture there] because I am already recognized by many people.

The role of the prostitute in this movie [played Cecilia Cheung] is purely fictional. I created it and it is not based on any real life stories. Because I find Fruit Chan revealing similar type of roles. That is why I wasn't going to do anymore research on that [part].


Cecilia Cheung and Daniel Wu in One Night In Mongkok


HKCinemagic : How Daniel Wu got involved in the project? He doesn't speak any Mandarin...
Derek Yee : Daniel Wu's Mandarin is so much better than his Cantonese! In the beginning, he was really worried about taking up this role, because he was raised in the United States , he was worried he couldn't portrayed very well a Mainlander. But I think he did very well. It is very easy to exaggerate, to over act, but in this case, Daniel did it very naturally and I should give a lot of credit to him. Compared to his role in New Police Story, this one is a lot more difficult and challenging .
HKCinemagic : There is a real communication problem in the film, between Chinese from Mainland and HK people. Is it your own point of view about HK regarding Mainland China ?
Derek Yee : As a kid, I spoke a lot of Mandarin. At that time, there were a lot of people coming from different part of China to HK, and they all spoke different dialects. That was a problem then, in the old days. But nowadays, it is not too much of a problem. This is some sort of problems you find in many different countries, because of the geographical distances, and different locations, people speak different dialects. That is quite common globally.
HKCinemagic : Why do you give such a dark and violent tone to the movie?
Derek Yee : In the original script, the whole story wasn't that violent. But I made adjustments as I worked along and made changes according to the mood of the scene on the spot. I felt it would be quite natural that it ended that way.
HKCinemagic : Did you have special instruction for the Director of Photography?
Derek Yee : We spend a lot of time doing some preparation work for the lights. The audience won't be able to tell the difference, but during the day, we spent a lot of time changing all the light bulbs, setting all the lightning, so when the shooting start, the lightning will come up right. We even change the fluorescent lights in the shops for brighter lights.

I made one request, because it was going to be on street, during the night. I wanted to have a big contrast. I let them doing free hand from there.

From my viewpoint as a director, it is very difficult for HK movie to create a particular HK style. Because, essentially HK has no style.

HKCinemagic : But maybe this is the HK style to have no style, to shoot very fast, with hand held cameras…
Derek Yee : If ever you want to change the tones, lights, etc, in HK it is always very difficult. Because HK has no particular style. If you want to have a particular style, it often means you have to spend a lot of money…
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Page 2 : One Night in Mongkok : origins
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Page 4 : One Night in Mongkok : Collaborators

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