Movie Talk: Philip Chan
Since 2013, the Hong Kong Film Archive's "Movie Talk Series" has zoomed in on six film veterans, namely, Ivy Ho, Chiu Kang-chien, Fruit Chan, Herman Yau, Stanley Kwan and Peter Yung, presenting works hand-picked by these versatile filmmakers, accompanied with seminars that offered audiences a deeper understanding of their creative trajectory and sources of inspiration.
In focus for the 2018 instalment of the series is the multi-talented and well-respected Philip Chan, who has contributed to Hong Kong cinema as an actor, screenwriter, director and producer. Selected together with Chan himself, the four films featured in this mini tribute were scripted and/or directed by him, including the semi-autobiographical indie romance, Charlie's Bubble (1981); the collaboration with Johnny Mak, Long Arm of the Law (1984); the gripping suspense co-produced with John Shum and Melvin Wong, The Night Caller (1985); and the witty comedy co-scripted with his close friend Michael Hui, Mr Boo VIII Chocolate Inspector (1986). Each screening will be followed by a dialogue between Chan and another heavyweight figure that promises one anecdote after another of his expansive experience in the industry.
In 1975, while still a member of the Hong Kong Police Force, Chan was invited by Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Leong Po-chih to write the screenplay for their co-directorial debut Jumping Ash (1976), which grossed over a million in three days. In the wake of the film's success, investor Jimmy Yip Chi-ming persuaded Chan to quit his job as superintendent and turn to filmmaking, officially kicking off his career in the entertainment business.
Hong Kong has had its rise and fall, and Chan has seen it all: from the gradual consolidation of our cultural identity in the 1970s and the indisputable influence of the movie industry on our popular culture in the 1980s, to the decline of Hong Kong cinema in the 1990s and the ever-growing trend of co-production in the new millennium. As he puts it, "Life is like a merry-go-round. You will come across many doors, and to unlock all these opportunities you have to work on forging the keys."