During the Busan International Film Festival, Hong Kong star Chow Yun-Fat, who has been named Asian Filmmaker of the Year, discussed the challenges faced by Hong Kong cinema at a press event. In response to a question about the current state of Hong Kong films, Chow, known for his roles in iconic movies like “The Killer” and “A Better Tomorrow,” stated, “Mainland China has a lot of requirements, so our scripts must go through many different departments. We have many restrictions now, so it’s difficult for Hong Kong filmmakers. But the mainland China market is huge, so we have to find some solution to work there.”
“But honestly, we will still try our best to make our Hong Kong spirit movies,” he added confidently.
Interestingly, Chow also praised Korean cinema for its current strength, attributing it to the creative freedom and the wide range of genres and topics that Korean filmmakers have the liberty to explore. He stated, “The biggest competitive element of Korean film is its freedom and the range of genres and topics they can produce. Every country’s cinema has its golden moment. At one time it was Hong Kong, now I’m very glad it’s Korea’s moment and that Korean films are being recognized by Hollywood.”
However, Chow also shed light on the struggles faced by Korean movies, particularly at the local box office, which he attributes to changing audience habits during the pandemic. “During the past three years, many people got used to watching films on platforms instead of going to the cinema, including many classic films, so the entire global film industry faces this situation, not just Korea. Now we have to contemplate what kind of subjects we should deal with in Hong Kong cinema to appeal to the audience,” he expressed his concern.
On a lighter note, Chow addressed the worries of his fans regarding his health as he has visibly lost weight. He reassured them by revealing that he has been jogging every day in Busan and even plans to run a half-marathon in Hong Kong. He also spoke about how his Buddhist beliefs keep him grounded, stating, “Everything is an illusion, so the best we can do is just to keep living in the present.”
During the festival, Chow is being honored through the screening of two of his most iconic films, Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and John Woo’s “A Better Tomorrow,” as well as the recent release “Once More Chance,” directed by Anthony Pun.