Chiu Kang-chien is a screenwriter and director who had worked actively in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. He was born on the island of Gulangyu, off the coast of Xiamen, China, in 1940 before relocating to Taiwan in 1949. He graduated from the National Taiwan University of the Arts in 1961 and studied drama at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii in 1964. Returning to Taiwan, he started a magazine with friends, the only publication devoted to the art of theater and film in Hong Kong and Taiwan at the time. Chiu was among the first to introduce the vanguard cinema and theater of Godard, Antonioni and Brecht to Taiwan. In 1966, he was invited to Hong Kong to work on screenwriting by Stephen Soong, head of Shaw Brothers’ script department, who recognized Chiu’s talent.
Chiu’s first script to be made into a feature film was the Griffin Yue Feng-directed The Bells of Death (1968)— a wuxia film inspired by spaghetti westerns. In 1969, director Doe Chin directed Chiu’s script Twin Blades of Doom, the noted dramatist’s only foray into martial arts. During Chiu’s eight years at Shaws, he wrote many screenplays, including Chang Cheh’s The Singing Thief (1969), Dead End (1969) and The Singing Killer (cowritten by Ni Kuang, 1970). He also penned director Chor Yeun’s Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972) and The Bastard (1973); Kuei Chih-hung’s Payment in Blood (co-written by Ni Kuang, 1973); and Ho Meng-hua’s The Kiss of Death (1973). After an attempt in 1973 to direct at Shaws was aborted, he left the company the following year.
In 1975, Chiu moved back to Taiwan to continue his career. Some of his better-known screenwriting efforts include Thou Shall Not Kill… But Once (1975, co-written by Chang Yung-hsiang) and Big Land, Flying Eagles (1978). He was also an uncredited writer for such noted wuxia films as Dragon Gate (1975) and Dynasty (1977). Chiu returned to Hong Kong in 1980, working as script consultant for The Story of Woo Viet. Later, using the moniker Dai On-ping, Chiu wrote the script for Boat People (1982) and co-wrote Collie Killer (1982), Nomad (1983), An Amorous Woman of Tang Dynasty (1984), Women (1985), Love Unto Waste (1986), Rogue (1988), Hearts No Flowers (1989), Full Moon in New York (1990), among others. Both Boat People and Love Unto Waste won the Best Screenplay award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. In 1992, director Stanley Kwan’s Centre Stage, penned by Chiu, helped Maggie Cheung won the Best Actress award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In his early years, Chiu has made an experimental film. In 1977, he directed an adaptation of Dream of the Red Chamber set in modern times after Griffin Yue Feng resigned from the project due to budgetary concerns, though the film was not released in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He later directed Tong Chee Yi Li Nan (1985) and Ming Ghost (1990) in Taiwan. He worked in China in much of the 2000s and 2010s, penning the script for director Feng Xiaogang’s big-budget work The Banquet (2006). He passed away in Beijing on 27th November 2013.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Tong Chee Yi Li Nan|
||The Drinking Knight|