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Interview Clement Cheng on Gallants
Best Film Award 1/1 - Page 5
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Date : 1/6/2011
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Josie Ho Chiu Yee
Ann Hui On Wah
Edmond Pang Ho Cheung
Tsui Hark
Wong Ching Po
Movies :
Dream Home
Love In A Puff
Revenge : A Love Story
< Previous
Page 4 : Scriptwriting, structure of the Gallants story
Next >
Page 6 : Humor

HKCM: You already did a lot with very little. It was a success at the box office and with critics. You did this film with your heart and won the Best Film Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Kudos to you.
Clement Cheng: Like I said, I am very fortunate and it is a very humbling experience. I mean, the fact it got made is just a miracle. I think there is this saying that goes “a picture speaks a thousand words”, but if you link up maybe 30 million pictures together, you can produce a miracle sometimes.
Masterclass: What's the significance for the movie now it won the Best Film Award at the HK Film Awards?
Clement Cheng: It got me here. I don't want to say this but it is not a significant thing only for me or the people who made the film, it is very significant for people who are struggling to make a better film besides all the box office. I guess part of the reason is that filmmakers of my generation who are in their early 30's are trying to make movies now too. Like Revenge : A Love Story. Wong Ching-po made that last year, and Josie Ho made Dream Home [Ed.: She produced the film]. Edmond Pang Ho-cheung made Love in a Puff. There are actually quite a few people from my generation, probably more than ten, who make movies and they all are pretty okay, pretty good, box office-wise. Audiences in HK were actually going back to the theatres and watching these films thinking it's something refreshing. I think getting an award for the Best Picture is like a boost to everybody, not just for us. We are all pretty tight, good friends, and we talk to each other and help each other. It is the 30 th anniversary of the HK Film Awards, which is the HK equivalent to the Oscars. It's like a new chapter is starting, and young filmmakers see that as an encouragement. It could happen; this is not a big name or big budget film. In that way, it's very significant not only for us but for the audience and young filmmakers like myself.
Masterclass: When you look at the [Hong Kong] Oscars for the last three years, they have given the Best Picture Award to independent productions. And this time they gave it to you. Two years ago it was to Ann Hui for The Way We Are. Is this the rise of independents in Hong Kong?
Clement Cheng: No, not at all. I mean, it just depends on what other movies were being made the same year. It's just fate, I guess. Or luck - if you can make something nobody has made this year, it's actually pretty good. And you get noticed. But you'll never know what other people are making.


The Gallants team, a team of winners.

HKCM: Is it because your movie and Ann Hui's movie are very local? I mean, you were up against Tsui Hark's movie, Detective Dee, which was primarily a big budget film for the mainland market.
Clement Cheng: Yes, with his movie budget he can make like 30 of my movies (laughs). It's not about “local” because to me, Gallants is not a local movie. It is exactly the opposite. It is set in HK and they speak Cantonese but it is not about HK. It is about a genre of movie that was invented in HK. And the characters are staying in HK. It is actually a very farcical story that would not happen in HK because people in HK are not like that. They are very...how could I put delicately...result-oriented. They want to do the least and gain the most. This is the general idea of successful people in HK. Doing the least and earning the most, ripping off other people. And if one way doesn't work, stop trying and do something else.

My movie is completely the opposite. I am not trying to redefine what winning is, but it is something that is not very common in HK. It is actually more Japanese, like a samurai concept. It's something different, a bit fresh, that they can relate to.

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