A Deep Tie Between Hong Kong, China and Beijing: Stanley Kwan Depicted his Fate with Films at BJIFF
On April 22, director Stanley Kwan, member of the Jury of Tiantan Award at the 13th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF), appeared at the Star Classic Cinema (Huairou). After the screening of the 4K restored version of Rouge, the director had some talks with more than 300 fans, sharing some old memories, and sending wishes to newcomers and new works in the future.
Group Photo at the Post-screening Talks of Rouge
When making the film Rouge, director Stanley Kwan was in his thirty. This feature film, which won him the Best Film and Best Director at the 8th Hong Kong Film Awards, is a must have for film fans.
The film is the adaptation of a novel with the same title by Lilian Lee. Amid the literary adaptation, screenwriter Chiu Kang-Chien contributed to a lot of brilliance. Chiu Kang-Chien has long been a friend of Stanley Kwan. In addition to Rouge, they have also created some other classics as Love Unto Waste, Full Moon in New York, and Center Stage. Stanley Kwan recalled that it was Chiu Kang-Chien who suggested that Fleur (by Anita Mui) might be better to appear in men's clothing, and that "there will be heavy makeup and light makeup, and even no makeup, so Chan Chen-Pang had a line as ‘you have so many looks'".
A Still of Rogue
In addition to Chiu Kang-Chien, Stanley Kwan also recalled the two protagonists of the film, namely Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, and talked about their unique connection with the film -- Rouge was originally scheduled to be directed by Terry Tong and starred by Anita Mui, Cherie Chung, Adam Cheng, and Andy Lau. However, since the script was revised for too long, Stanley Kwan had to shoulder the responsibility. Some of these actors or actresses left the crew, but Anita Mui stayed for her affection to the role of Fleur and recommended to the director Leslie Cheung to play Chan Chen-Pang. "Anita Mui said to me, 'I'll take a film at the Cinema City. Instead, please ask Leslie Cheung to play Chan Chen-Pang. OK? I said, 'Thank you, you two are perfect for each other, I have no reason to stop you.'"
Post-screening Talks of Rouge
As the director said, the combination of the two superstars is a "perfect match", especially their dedication to the film -- Leslie Cheung in person played the aged Chan Chen-Pang, for which he had five hours spent for special effects makeup; Anita Mui made lifelike performance of Fleur’s subconscious charming in the face of a stranger, perfectly depicting the difference between the two figures. Under their efforts, Fleur’s sadness and infatuation, Chan Chen-Pang’s ridiculous and indecisive attitude are vividly manifested. “A man can take pleasure; and get away with it; but a girl will never get away with it”. Such tragedy became a long mourning signal in the history of Hong Kong films along with the vanished features of the old Hong Kong in China.
Both the old Hong Kong, China depicted by Rouge or the old Shanghai in Center Stage had rich connotations in view of the director for an urban space. In the talks, Stanley Kwan also expressed his hope for young filmmakers to "pay more attention to the city, the community, the space, and the buildings" in which they are living, as this "love" to environment may give them infinite inspiration. "Anyone who passes outside the floor-to-ceiling window may inspire you for a story". It can be said that in his view of creation, serious observation and sincere love to the real world are as good as a fertile soil for the breeding of masterpieces.
It is worth mentioning that the day after the post-screening activity, Stanley Kwan returned to Hong Kong to participate in event “Revisiting the Glory Days – The Legacy of Leslie and Anita” at Hong Kong Film Archive, which screened the 4K restored version of Rouge that we have enjoyed the day before in Beijing.
Post-screening Talks of Rouge
Surprisingly, this wonderful connection between Beijing and Hong Kong, China never ends. In recent years, the BJIFF has been deepening its cooperation with the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). In 2023, the " Making Waves - Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema", co-organized by the BJIFF and HKIFF, once again met with audiences at the 13th BJIFF, during which four new films Vital Sign, Hong Kong Family, Lost Love, and Wave of All Flesh, as well as two 4K restored films Fallen Angel and A Moment of Romance were well received by fans. BJIFF has kept improving the system of fostering young directors. This year, a number of outstanding projects from the HKIFF have been invited to participate in the second-round selection of the Hong Kong, China Subsection, part of the BJIFF Project Pitches.
While sharing the same perseverance and love for the art of film, we have no longer been troubled by the distance between Beijing and Hong Kong, China. However far away from each other, we are still as close as neighbors. Let's wait and see what kind of amazing journey this invisible bridge of film will lead us!