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Director Peter Chan: What Is a Hong Kong Movie?
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With the increase of pan-Asian productions, some people are wondering what exactly defines a Hong Kong film in today's market.


When asked if he ever considered shooting Perhaps Love in Cantonese, rather than Mandarin, Peter Chan responded with a definite "No".



"I've been bombarded with this the past few months. I think it's a very narrow-minded concept to think that a Hong Kong film needs to take place in Hong Kong, and needs to have an all Hong Kong cast and crew, and needs to be in the Cantonese language. I'm actually quite disappointed at people who have been talking like this, especially Hong Kong critics and fellow filmmakers."


Speaking of one of his reasons for making Perhaps Love Chan said, "We're making this film to appeal to a bigger audience, so that Hong Kong film, or the spirit of Hong Kong film, does not die." He believes it would be foolish to only, "make films in Cantonese on the streets of Hong Kong without expanding it to the world."


"We've always had the benefit in the past of being China's middleman to the world. That's where we made all the money. But when China doesn't need a middleman anymore we're in trouble."


"Maybe it's because of the economic and financial change of identity that we're in search of a new role as a city. I think all of a sudden people have become more narrow minded. Hong Kong never had protectionism, and it was never about protecting our own cinema, it was always anything goes."


"At the day's end," Chan continued, "Hong Kong film has suffered from a long decline in its audience, not only in Hong Kong, but all over the world, to a point where most Hong Kong films cannot survive. And 70% of our film force has already retired. I can't tell you how many times that I wanted to call some old associate whose no longer in the business. So if we want the Hong Kong spirit to continue, we need to continue to find ways to stimulate, to find new markets, and to tell new stories. So to limit Hong Kong films to the location and the language is really foolish."


(hkfilmart June 12, 2006)

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