Thirty-two years after my first day at the director’s helm—July 11th, 1981—I still have the burning desire to go to work tomorrow. Not only have my enduring interest in this work lasted for decades, I even encourage my son to follow my footsteps, which brings us closer together as we often engage in discussion about movies. There is no such thing as a retirement age for directors. Despite the deterioration of the body, as long as the mind is nimble, the next film shall live on. Such hopeful devotion is the best medicine for the soul.
I still remember the day before shooting began for Her Fatal Ways, Mr. Leonard Ho asked me if there would be any problems with this film. I deceptively told him that it was only a Hong Kong-version of Crocodile Dundee. Little did I know that it almost failed to pass the Hong Kong rating system.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Ho, I was blacklisted by the head of the Film Bureau of China because the President gave him a good scolding after mistaking the film as a mainland production. A year later, Kevin Chu Yenping caused an even bigger uproar with his film since his Taiwanese identity was even more threatening, while I was only trying to depict the dilemma of the people. Four years ago in Beijing, while I was having a nice chat with the now-retired head of the Film Bureau, he jokingly told me that I almost got him into serious trouble.
I never imagined that Her Fatal Ways would be the first political comedy for the Chinese people. I am even more surprised that the present tension between Hong Kong and China has caused a quiet revival for the film. It has become a soothing and validating satire for a new generation of Hong Kongers. As the clips from the film spread over Baidu and Tudou, millions of viewers have realized that Hong Kong once had the guts to crack jokes at the expense of the Chinese Police.
Only with film can so many things happen beyond my imagination….
Alfred Cheung Kin-ting was born in 1956 in Guangzhou and came to Hong Kong when he was three. After high school, he first performed in Radio Television Hong Kong’s (RTHK) radio drama Blue Collar, White Collar and then transferred to the television department to become an assistant researcher. Later, he hosted children’s programs for Rediffusion Television (RTV). In 1977, he wrote television series for RTHK, including Below the Lion Rock. He graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a degree in literature in 1978 and enrolled in film courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1980, he began writing for movies and penned The Savior (1980), Father and Son (1981) and The Story of Woo Viet (1981) before going to the U.S. to study film at Columbia University. Hence he was unable to accept the Best Screenplay award for The Story of Woo Viet at the 1st Hong Kong Film Awards in person.
The majority of Cheung’s 80-plus productions are comedies. The multi-talented filmmaker often takes on different tasks such as director, screenwriter, producer and actor. In 1982, together with Antony Chan and Kenny Bee, he founded Go Go Film Productions Company, where he directed his first film, Monkey Business. He joined Shaw Brothers Studio later and directed Bee and Cecilia Yip in Let’s Make Laugh (1983), which won the Best Screenplay and Best Actress awards at the 3rd Hong Kong Film Awards. As his reputation continued to soar, his urban comedies like Family Light Affair (1984) and Let’s Make Laugh II (1985) solidified his status as a premium comedy director.
In 1985, Cheung joined Golden Harvest, for which he wrote and directed films such as Paper Marriage (1988) and Queen’s Bench III (1990). Recognizing the collective angst of Hong Kong due to its impeding 1997 reunification with China, Cheung shot the topical political comedy Her Fatal Ways (1990), which won Carol Cheng the Best Actress award at the 10th Hong Kong Film Awards.
Cheung also enjoys a successful acting career, playing his first lead role in Mr. Virgin (1984). Other starring parts include Spooky, Spooky (1988) and Talk to Me, Dicky (1992).
In 2001, he made the leap to Hollywood, directed and produced the English-language co-production Manhattan Midnight, which won Best Picture and Best Cinematography at the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Since the late 1990s, Cheung has been active in various multimedia ventures. In 1996, he started to develop entertainmentrelated websites and became involved with the restaurant business. He also created theatrical workshops and provided training for many organizations. During Hong Kong’s Chief Executive election in 2007, he coached Civic Party candidate Alan Leong on communication skills. He was awarded the Executive MBA degree by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2008 and completed his Ph.D. studies in 2012.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Love At Seventh Sight|
||All's Well End's Well 97|
||Bodyguards of Last Governor|
|1994||《表姐，你好嘢！ 4 之情不自禁》
||Her Fatal Ways 4|
|1992||《表姐，你好嘢！ 3 之大人駕到》
||Her Fatal Ways 3|
||Talk to Me, Dicky|
||Her Fatal Ways II|
||The Banquet||KO Chi Sum Clifton CHEUNG Tung Joe TSUI Hark|
||Her Fatal Ways|
||Queen's Bench III|
||On The Run|
||To Err Is Humane|
||Let's Make Laugh II|
||Family Light Affair|
||Let's Make Laugh|