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Interview Gordon Chan, from The Big Heat to A-1
Triads, police, Asian market 1/1 - Page 13
Info
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
David Vivier
Date : 13/1/2005
Type(s) : Interview
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Peter Chan Ho Sun
Chen Kaige
Feng Xiaogang
Andrew Lau Wai Keung
Tian Zhuang Zhuang
Tsui Hark
Albert Yeung Sau Sing
Movies :
Beast Cops
Fist Of Legend
Infernal Affairs
King Of Beggars
 
< Previous
Page 12 : Project 1:99, SARS
 
 Notes  
Interview conducted by Thomas Podvin, with the help of David Vivier, in the Landmark, Central, Hong Kong on the 13th January 2005.
Interview recorded by David Vivier.

We are grateful to Gordon Chan for his time.


HKCinemagic: You did films portraying the police and the triads. Do you have friends and acquaintance in these two worlds who helped you do your research?
Gordon Chan: Yes (smiling). All the scenes in Beast Cops like in the disco where Tung went were real. That was my personal experience (laughing).

 

The disco

I went to a disco and I thought I was in the wrong place. There was nobody there, I wondered if I was told the right place. In fact, I sat in the wrong seat. That seat belongs to some boss. But he wasn’t there yet. Still, I was not supposed to sit there. So I was sitting and nobody told me to move because they knew me. The boss came in. He was kind of looking at me. I didn’t know him. He recognised me. I was in a booth, drinking and minding my own business and he sat besides me. Fine. That’s a habit for everybody to sit together here. The guy who took me the place just came back from the toilets and whispered to me that this was one of the triad bosses. I said I was sorry and asked if it was his sit. And he was so nice and let me sit there. We had a good chat that night. And that’s how I wrote the story.

I was lucky that people always treat me like a friend. They saw me as part of Hong Kong. Because I spent a lot of time there talking to a lot of guys.

 

Sitting with the triads

 
HKCinemagic: Do they give you feedback when they watch your films?
Gordon Chan: Yes, a lot of feedback. But luckily, Policemen and the triads all came back and thank me, which is pretty rare. But I think I am really trying to find what’s really happening out there. I still have my fantasies, I still write my fantasies, I just try to come up with some fantasies with some real substance.
 
HKCinemagic: You produced movies with other countries, with Japanese director Miike Takashi for instance. How did you get involve?
Gordon Chan: Actually I was CEO of the Emperor Group* then and I was trying to bring the HK film industry into the international arena. Before then the HK film industry seemed pretty away from the international market. They were always so passive and waited for somebody to pick them up and collaborating with others. I started to feel - including Peter Chan - that we should try to reach out to other Asian film industries. So when I heard about the Miike's project Koroshiya 1/ Ichi The Killer, I was so interested because he is such a good writer. So I told my colleague to seek that project, see how much they wanted. How we can get involved. And we got involved and it was a collaboration between seven parties. And we took up the responsibilities for the international sales. It was basically an investment rather than a creative process.

NOTE : *[Ed.: An article in Screen Daily gives some details on Chan’s and Emperor Group’s president Albert Yeung’s ideas to develop a more international film industry capable of competing with the US. “Emperor kicks off $100m film push with Highbinders”, by Patrick Frater, 24/10/2000.]
 
HKCinemagic: What’s your take on the present threats on the HK film market? Pirate copies, mainland market, the loss of good technicians?
Gordon Chan: I think it’s everything. But the major problem being, and it is not only a threat for the HK film market, the world is changing, the technology is changing. The internet is changing the world so fast. So I think the film industry is not coping with it effectively. The same thing is happening to the music industry, which basically crumbles like ice [under the sun]. I think we need to find a new business model. A new way of distributing, how we are going to get paid, etc. the Chinese piracy market is like a major problem adding on to these complicated problems. So it’s really complicated. You have this BT (bitorent) technology style, the peer to peer that appeared so fast. And you have thousands of people in China who upload for everybody all kinds of films. But I think this is not only a problem for the HK film industry but for all industries. We need to come up with a new ways of distributing; otherwise film industries are not going to survive at all.
 
HKCinemagic: Talking with various people here, I find most HK filmmakers have had a very insular mind when it comes to films. Maybe that is where the key problem lies and people should start to think of outside markets instead of relying only on domestic market to distribute films.
Gordon Chan: Yes.
 
HKCinemagic: For instance, Infernal Affairs, how Andrew Lau created it? Did he think it could do it for an international audience?
Gordon Chan: No, he never thought of that.
 
HKCinemagic: This is a film you can actually sell abroad. It has a good production value.
Gordon Chan: Yes. So we need more producers. We need more international producers [of international calibre].
 
HKCinemagic: What would you say to viewers who admire your work?
Gordon Chan: Thanks for your support but I have barely started to make good films. I am still starting. In fact, that feeling is so strong in my heart. The day before yesterday I sat with Chen Kaige and we took pictures together, me, Chen Kaige, Feng Xiaogang and Tian Zhuang Zhuang. I sat there next to them, looked at them and felt I was still far away. I look at Tsui Hark, I feel I am still so far away.

Honestly, besides Fist of Legend or King of Beggars, I am still not proud of my films. I still think I need to improve. And there is much room for improvement. This is why I always say my next film will be better. It should be better.

 

King of Beggars

 
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Page 12 : Project 1:99, SARS

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