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Choice of weapons: Tsui Hark's Seven Swords
Press Conference 1/5 - Page 2
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Date : 26/10/2005
Type(s) : Interview
Food for thought
 Intext Links  
People :
Tsui Hark
Stephen Tung Wei
Donnie Yen Chi Tan
Yuen Woo Ping
Movies :
Seven Swords
Lexic :
Jiang Hu
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Page 1 : The Weapons of Choice
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Page 3 : Donnie Yen / Lu Yi
Press conference held in July 21, 2005 at the Shanghai Art Film Center.
Special thanks to Mr Gu Ming.
Translation from Mandarin into English by Cherry Xue.
Transcribed and collated by Thomas Podvin.
Photos by Thomas Podvin for HKCinemagic.com. Stills courtesy Film Workshop /Mandarin Films /Beijing Ciwen Film /Boram Entertainment.

The following transcripts are from the Seven Swords press conference held in Shanghai , PRC, in July 2005. Tsui Hark, Donnie Yen, Lu Yi, Sun Hongle, Zhang Jinchu, Kim So Yeun were present. A series of Q&A last for 40 minutes, and then groups of two guests were made, Tsui Hark/Zhang Jinchu, Donnie Yen/Lu Yi and Sun Honglei/Kim So Yeun. Questions were asked by journalists present at the conference.

photo hkcinemagic.com©
photo hkcinemagic.com©
Group questions

Question : Why paying so much attention to love between men and women in Seven Swords?

Tsui Hark: People in Jiang Hu are just like people in any kind of situation. In reality and in Jiang Hu, it's the same. Their growing up process also consists in realizing and learning new things. It's of course always accompanied by emotions. It's part of real life, and of life in the martial-art world.
Question : But the way to make the movie was quite realistic, why?
Tsui Hark: In Chinese films, they are more and more ways to make kung-fu movies. We should always explore new methods.
Question : So it's a new trial?
Tsui Hark: Yes
Question : Is the result satisfying?
Tsui Hark: Well, for me it's a new try. I want to experience different stuffs than before. We are not very experienced in this type of production. If audience has some good advices to express, I am waiting for feedbacks.
Question : How did you conceived the adaptation of Liang Yu-Shen's classic novel?
Tsui Hark: Martial-art novel writers all have their own style. For Seven Swords, I just show the writer's story my own way. It's important for the director to understand the novel. I want to make a movie out of this novel via a new way I haven't tried before.
photo hkcinemagic.com©
photo hkcinemagic.com©

Question : In the movie, some people are savage, it's raw and cruel, isn't that too much?

Tsui Hark: I want to emphasize that in most wu xia novel and movies, the life of a person isn't regarded as something so real, like in reality. I really want to say that life is precious. In real life, you shouldn't kill just for personal goal. In the end, the swordsmen go to get the Chu Zhaonan, but don't kill everyone. They don't savage Fire-Wind's castle. If they were really cruel they were really cruel they would have killed 3000 soldiers, and that would have been a real massacre.
Question : For the premiere in Beijing , it was so formal, you walked on red carpet and a big evening party was organized. Here in Shanghai , it is very simple. Are you disappointed?
Tsui Hark: For us the most important thing is the reaction of moviegoers after watching the film, this is the only stuff we care about.
Question : Did the final product meet your original plans?
Tsui Hark: I think the whole process can be divided into several steps.

1- you conceive the whole script by yourself, these are only the director's personal ideas

2- during the actual shooting process, you realize that there are a lot of limitations, like cold weather, problems with an actor or actress. You have to change things around

3- some actors will have new ideas during the acting process. They learn more about me and I learn about them and the role when they act. We give each others ideas.

It's like a developing process, a work in progress, an interactive progress, not totally determined at the beginning; otherwise it's not a creative process. In the end, it is of course different from the original plan, but this is how the creative process works.

Question : For Seven Swords, this time you worked with Tung Wai on action sequences you chose him as kung fu director, rather than Yuen Woo Ping. Was it to change your style?
Tsui Hark: I've worked with quite a lot of kung-fu directors. Actually, I talked with Yuen Woo Ping before shooting Seven Swords. He is a very romantic person and likes to make kung fu like pretty art. 20 years ago I worked with Stephen Tung Wei. After that we didn't have chance to work together again and I've always wanted to cooperate further with him to see how it would be like.

Lau Kar-leung sifu (one of the action directors) (photo hkcinemagic.com©)
Question : Do you think the real fighting design of Tung met your ideas?
Tsui Hark: In fact kung fu movie is a tiny part of the whole movie world, we still have a long way to go. Now the result isn't mature yet enough, but I believe it's a good beginning.
Question : In the movie, you talk about too many people. We feel there are too many guys to follow, it's a bit distracting.
Tsui Hark: We make the movie out of a quite long novel. It's the basis for this movie, we cannot cut too much material from the novel. The clues left are necessary and directly linked to the following stories. Maybe there are too many clues, and I should pay more attention next time.
Question : Each swordsman has a different sword adapted to his personality, can you elaborate?
Tsui Hark: In fact I had this idea 3 years ago, and talked with another fellow director about this novel “Seven Swords of Mount Tian.” In China it isn't uncommon for wu xia to have many different characters. Then I thought they should be all different. For instance, the fighter Chu Zhaonan (Donnie Yen), later he becomes the betrayer in the novel and works against the 6 other swordsmen. The sword he uses is very powerful and a big threat for others. It's like the sword is full of offensive feelings. I have to think of all possibilities for him to be a betrayer.
photo hkcinemagic.com©
photo hkcinemagic.com©
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