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Statistics :
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Interview : Johnnie To On Election 1 & 2
Interview Page 1
Author(s) : Bastian Meiresonne
Date : 15/5/2006
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Johnnie To Kei Fung
Movies :
Election 2
The Election
Companies :
One Hundred Years of Film
< Previous
Interview conducted by Bastian Meiresonne at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Many thanks to Misters Johnnie To and Shan Ding for their patience and time.

Between two TV programms and parties, Bastian caught up with Johnnie To. at the 2006 Cannes festival, where the director was presenting Election 2. In the following interview, To discusses his career and his latest works.


HKCinemagic : We all know your current influential position within the Hong Kong 's movie industry, how do assess your movie career so far?
Johnnie To : I'm proud of all the movies I have done since I owe them my current position.
HKCinemagic : In the Hong Kong Panorama 1999-2000 , you said that the 'One Hundred Years of Film' foundation was not only to make one or two good movies a year, but to restructure the whole movie industry.” Do you feel you have succeeded in doing so?
Johnnie To : My ultimate goal has always been to achieve top-notch quality Hong Kong movies. At the time of directing my very first movies, I already wanted to achieve this same goal, but I was unable to get what I really wanted.
HKCinemagic : What did you want at that time?
Johnnie To : I already wanted to bring together a film crew to work together on different and interesting movie projects; but collaborating with different people with different ideas and different ways to work on every new movie made it all very difficult.
HKCinemagic : You successfully dodge trends. Back in 1996, you decided not to follow your fellow filmmakers to the USA – and you became one of the main players in HK.
Johnnie To : I don't like to follow any "trends" – I just want to do what I want to do. I don't care about the currents. Back in 1996, I really didn't think going to Hollywood would be a wise step for me – so I didn't leave the country. I have kept the same way of thinking up until now.


HKCinemagic : You often refer to the French movie Borsalino as one of your all times favourite. Has it been of any particular influence for the making of the Election movies?
Johnnie To : I don't think it has been of any – at last conscious – influence on the making of Election. The first one is more of a romantic drama, whereas both Election movies treat about Hong Kong 's current situation. Only the non-happy ends would be a similarity between these movies.
HKCinemagic : How about inspiration from the Godfather trilogy?
Johnnie To : Other gangster movies might have been of some inspiration…but from any worldwide gangster movies – only Hong Kong 's films might have been of some influence. Election is a kind of New Age Hong Kong gangster movie, looking back at 1997 handover.

Actually, while I was preparing – and later on – shooting the Election movies, I told my crew not to take any influence from the Godfather trilogy, or from any other gangster movies. I told them I wanted to create a real Hong Kong gangster movie.

HKCinemagic : Election 2 was eventually released in China and some other censorship-ridden Asian territories, like Malaysia. What do you think about censorship and "alternative endings", saying that "Crime doesn't pay"?
Johnnie To : We are aware about censorship, so alternative endings, such as the Malaysian one, are no real surprises for us.

As concerning their " Crime doesn't pay " slogan, this is a typical "government" thought and it doesn't reflect reality in any way. It's like good people, who take the risk to have a bad life after all; you never know what might happen and as a filmmaker (and storyteller) you don't have to give a clear answer about what should happen to your film characters. Censorship is the sole belonging to some authority decisions, but doesn't reflect filmmaker's decisions in any way.


Sur le tournage de Election
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