Every film comes from the creative self reflection of the director: what do I want to say? How do I say it? What other questions arise as I say it?
In this process of self questioning, the film is born. As it plays in the cinema, it communicates with audiences in the darkness. The film is a reflection of its creator, and the kind of person you are determines the type of film you make. This is a responsibility that you as the director cannot evade.
Sylvia Chang Ai-chia, a multi-talented filmmaker who acted, wrote scripts, produced and directed, was born in 1953 in Taiwan. While still in school, she hosted a radio program of English music in 1969, moving on to television the next year. After graduating in 1972, she was invited by producer Li Shiyung to star in the film The Flying Tiger (1972). She then came to Hong Kong, signing a five-year contract with Golden Harvest on the recommendation of director Lo Wei. After only three films, she ended the contract early and went back to Taiwan, throwing herself into making the romantic melodramas that were in vogue, acting in over twenty films in a span of four years, winning Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse Awards and an acting award at the 22nd Asian Film Festival for her performance in Posterity and Perplexity (1976).
Starring in King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain (1979), Chang helped out on the set and also shot a 16mm behind-thescene documentary. She also learned editing from the master, establishing a solid foundation for her future directing career.
Chang formed Unique Films with Selina Chow in 1979, producing The Secret (1979), the debut of famed director Ann Hui in which Chang also starred. In 1980, director Tu Chung-hsun was killed in an auto accident while making Once Upon a Time (1980) and Chang stepped in to finish the film, marking her debut as director.
The next year, she produced the television series 11 Women for TTV of Taiwan, giving future New Taiwan Cinema directors like Edward Yang and Ko Yi-cheng an early break in efforts that won immediate acclaim. The same year, she also won Best Actress at the Golden Horse with the film My Grandfather (1981).
She was hired in 1982 by New Cinema City to oversee the company’s productions in Taiwan. Under her watch, Edward Yang made his debut with That Day, at the Beach (1983) and Ko Yi-cheng directed his first full feature Kidnapped (1983).
Returning to Hong Kong in 1982, Chang’s career was marked by great successes in acting, writing and directing. Her performances in such films as the Aces Go Places series (1982 – 86), Shanghai Blues (1984), Full Moon in New York (1990) and Queen of Temple Street (1990). She also wrote, directed and acted in Passion (1986), Tempting Heart (1999) and 20.30.40 (2004).
Chang had won many awards. She was conferred the Best Screenplay award in consecutive years at the Asian Pacific Film Festival with Siao Yu (1995) and Tonight Nobody Goes Home (1996); Tempting Heart won the Best Screenplay award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. And she had been crowned Best Actress twice by the Hong Kong Film Awards, for Passion and Forever and Ever (2001).
Much of Chang’s directorial works are centered on women, with a delicate sensitivity for their emotions and experiences.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Run Papa Run|
||Princess D||YUEN Kam Lun Alan|
||Tonight Nobody Goes Home|
||In Between||YONFAN CHIU Liang Ching Samson|
||Mary from Beijing|
||The Game They Call Sex|
||Once Upon A Time|