Hong Kong acting legend Chow Yun-fat expressed his concerns about China’s strict censorship in the film industry while acknowledging the financial significance of the mainland Chinese market for filmmakers.
Chow’s concerns: Chow, who was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year ahead of this year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), discussed the challenges faced by Hong Kong’s cinema industry since the city returned to China’s control in 1997. At a press conference, he spoke about stringent censorship requirements and script approvals by various government departments.
Preserving “Hong Kong” spirit: However, the BIFF honoree emphasized the necessity of reaching the vast mainland Chinese audience to sustain a livelihood, despite the difficulties. He stressed the importance of cooperating with the government to secure funding for movie projects while striving to preserve the “Hong Kong spirit” in filmmaking.
“After 1997, a lot of things changed. We have to pay attention to our government. Otherwise, it will be hard to get the money to make movies. The mainland market is so huge,” Chow said, according to Variety.
Strength in freedom: At the event, Chow also expressed his love for Korean food and his admiration for the rise of South Korean cinema, noting that its “greatest strength lies in its freedom.”
Chow’s legacy: The 68-year-old actor has been a beloved figure in South Korea due to the surge in popularity of Hong Kong cinema in the 1990s. He was honored as the Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the 28th BIFF for his role in popularizing the “Hong Kong noir” genre globally. Some of his iconic films, including “A Better Tomorrow,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “One More Chance,” will be screened at the festival.
Despite his fame and successful career, Chow considers himself as an “ordinary person.” In 2018, he announced his intention to donate his fortune to charity after his passing. On Thursday, he joked that it was his wife’s decision but expressed his belief that leaving the world with nothing is inconsequential since he entered it with nothing.