There are two main types of filmmakers. One treat films purely as work, and regard film as a fictional product that provides an hour and a half of relaxing entertainment to the audience. I, on the other hand, let audiences know that the film is fake. Once I have lured them into the cinemas, they will discover the fun stuff underneath the fictional veneer.
(taken from Fong Yuk Ping, Half a glass, half a director, Wen Wei Po, 28 July, 2009.)
Allen Fong Yuk-ping was born in Hong Kong in 1947. After graduating from the Department of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist College (now renamed Hong Kong Baptist University), he furthered his studies at the University of Georgia in the United States, majoring in broadcasting, film and television.
Upon obtaining his Master’s degree in film production at the University of Southern California, Fong returned to Hong Kong in 1975. He began working for RTHK as a production assistant, and was promoted to the position of director in 1976. Between 1976 and 1979, Fong directed many episodes of the series Below the Lion Rock, including Ode to Un Chau Chai (1976), The Wild Child (1977), Old Plough (1978) and Choice Of Dreams (1978). He won the Gold Award presented by the Asian Broadcasting Union in 1979 for The Wild Child.
Fong joined Feng Huang Motion Picture Company in 1979, and got the chance to direct his first film in 1981, Father and Son. This touching semi-autobiographical work won the Best Film and Best Director awards at the first Hong Kong Film Awards and he followed up in 1983 with Ah Ying, which depicts the relationship between a film director and a young woman who sells fish at a wet market and the choices they have to make between fulfilling their dreams and settling for reality. The film again won the Best Film and Best Director awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Fong’s next film was Just Like Weather (1986), which mixed reality and fiction with documentary-style segments, with the director himself appearing on camera to interview the two main characters. The film won Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Jury Grand Prize at the Turin International Film Festival. Fong’s record of winning three Best Director awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards in six years was only broken by Ann Hui in 2012, when she won Best Director for the 4th time for A Simple Life. Fong’s 1990 work Dancing Bull and the 1997 film A Little Life-Opera, produced in Fujian Province, both focused on the contradiction between art and commerce. His 2000 documentary Tibetan Tao records a journey to Tibet by a Fujian businessman.
Fong is one of the most representative figures of the Hong Kong New Wave, and also one of the directors who insisted on making non-mainstream works filled with experimental and innovative elements throughout his career. In addition to film, Fong also worked extensively in television, having directed many docudramas and documentaries, as well as directing the stage play American Hotel (1989) and produced many video works for the City Contemporary Dance Company. In 2000, he settled in Canada for health reasons, but returned to Hong Kong in 2009 for a retrospective of his works at the Hong Kong Film Archive.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||A Little Life-Opera|
||Just Like Weather|
||Father and Son|