Arthur Cohn, a successful Swiss film producer with six Academy Award-winning films to his credit, came to Fudan University Monday afternoon to talk with students about his own road to Oscar.
Arthur Cohn, the Swiss producer, is the only one in Oscar history who has won so many awards.
Hundreds of Fudan University students and dozens of foreign and local media reporters went to Arthur's meeting (3p.m.-5p.m.) in the Yifu Science & Technology Auditorium in Fudan University.
Arthur told the students cordially his experience in film making, his belief in life, a recipe of four steps for making a good and thrill film, and his opinion on Chinese films.
During the meeting, Arthur's slow English with not very rich accent from Switzerland won the warm and sustaining applause from the students several times.
The most wonderful experience that teased the audience most was the incidence of Arthur's first meeting with world-famous actress Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid Bergman mistaken him for a waiter at the Oscar Awards Ceremony some years ago. When Arthur came to the Academy awards when he was still young (Arthur is 63 years old this year). He met in the lounge with the famous actress Ingrid Bergman. Since the actress didn't know who the young man was, she asked Arthur to bring her a glass of drink.
It was on the next day in the evening after the awarding ceremony was over that Bergman realized who the "waiter" served her the night before was.
When the media interviewed Bergman later, she said, "I didn't won an Oscar this year, but my 'waiter' wins."
All the students burst out into laughter. Arthur also smiled and seemed quite satisfied, as if he was chewing over the sweet memories of his starting steps.
Arthur, in the world's eyes, is a successful producer, because nearly every film he shot turned out a prize winner or box office hitter.
But in Fudan's meeting, everyone attending and listening have got a feeling that it's not easy for him to collect and retain so many successes.
As Arthur said and kept as life-long belief, what pushes him forward so far is his stickness to his own dream, or more seriously is his loyalty to his own dream. It's also the most cherished thing he wants to share with the younger generation and the recipe for his success in the film industry.
"Never stop dreaming, dreaming keeps you live on..." It's the resounding theme of his speech.
As the anchorwoman of the meeting said when the light of the hall extinguished for a little while during the meeting, we will do with the room without light, because Arthur's "dream theory" is like a torch in the dark that enlightens the audience quite a lot.
This is the third time Arthur came to China.
In 1998, he came to China to attend the 4th Shanghai International Film Festival. Eighteen years ago, he had also paid a visit to Shanghai.
Arthur said he was "fascinated", "impressed greatly by the change" in Shanghai. Shanghai today is even quite different from Shanghai in 1998.
Arthur is planning on his next film. Hopefully, the film transcripted from a Japanese author's novel will be shot in Shanghai focusing on looking for one's own identity. The film is about the many people in the world who, though living better off, but find they have lost their own identity.
As to Arthur's own way to Oscar, his feeling is that every Oscar has its own personality and as long as you have good script, editing well, keep the film authentic(got received well in the place where the film is shot), and put the right actor and actress for their part in the film, your film, if it raised the interest of most people(meaning everybody seen it got a something out of it or recalled some personal experience or found some shared value after seeing the film), then the film will quite likely be selected by the Academy and received well by the whole world.
These points in successful film making is also something what Chinese films are missing today, according to Arthur.
Most Chinese films are too local, too difficult to foreigners. This has made Chinese films fail to become a cult film in the world.
The localization of the site where the film is shot is not the criteria of whether a film is international or local.
Every film shot at the place it fits in most will have the chance to become successful.
And people can make a meaningful film on everything, even on chess playing or on a common bad girl, not necessarily on a profound and difficult subject.
At the end of the meeting, Arthur expressed his appreciation on his tour to Fudan and the reception of his speech in the hall. He hinted that if the next venue for his new film will be in Shanghai, he will surely come to Fudan again.
(eastday.com June 10, 2002)