To make great art, artists are bound to either have a profound understanding of life or possess a keen philosophical viewpoint. In all honesty, neither case seems applicable to me. Life remains very much a mystery.
Filmmaking is meaningful to me as an education, a means to unlock doors to new encounters, to open windows onto novel sensations.
Exploration and inquiry into lives and existences that are otherwise alien geographically, historically, socially is always humbling. Experiences so profuse and varied that one can barely grasp and can only ponder the wretchedness or wonder the richness of it all. Location shoots brings its own miracles, one minute flinging one to undreamed reaches of the globe and the next, reveal in your very own neighborhood neglected and unappreciated nooks and crannies.
As for the finished product, let the master have the last word:
“Films deal with the emotions and reflect the fragmentation of experience. It is thus misleading to try to sum up the meaning of a film verbally.” - - Stanley Kubrick (1959, Film Quarterly)
Lawrence Lau (aka Lawrence Ah Mon) was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1949. He attended secondary school in Hong Kong, then studied film at the University of Southern California, obtaining a Master’s degree. Returning to Hong Kong in the late 1970s, he served as assistant director on Tsui Hark’s The Butterfly Murders (1978). He entered RTHK in 1979, directing dramas for the series Crossroads and Miracle of the Orient, many of them stories of social reality.
Lau continued this approach in his first film Gangs (1988), portraying the harsh reality of juvenile delinquency. His reputation as a director dedicated to Hong Kong’s underclass and social issues was confirmed with his sophomore project Queen of Temple Street (1990), for which Rain Lau won the Best Supporting Actress and Best New Performer prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
He incorporated his social consciousness into the crime genre, directing the gangster films Lee Rock I and its sequel Lee Rock II (both 1991) with social touches and in an epic scale. The films became big hits and received eight nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards, winning Best Supporting Actor for Kwan Hoi-shan. Riding on that success, Lau followed with another gangster epic, Arrest the Restless (1992), again a critical and commercial hit.
The next ten years were difficult for Lau, his five directorial efforts during that period met with less-than ideal responses. He started making commercials in 2000, while also directing RTHK dramas. He returned to form with the feature My Name is Fame (2006), the story of a struggling actor echoing Lau’s own career. The film won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Lau Ching-wan and also served notice of Lau’s return to form. His Besieged City (2008) is another story about problem youths and Ballistic (2008) is a reference to the political situation of Taiwan.
He co-directed City Without Baseball (2008) with newcomer Scud, presenting a frontal exploration of “sex and the city” and homosexuality. They teamed up again for Amphetamine (2010), with Lau serving as executive director on a film that portrays youth predicaments less from a social-realistic perspective but with sensational, confrontational touches.
Working with famed director Johnnie To, Lau directed the television films No Way Out (2008) and Partners (2008), both episodes in the Tactical Unit series produced by To. He had also ventured out of Hong Kong, making the youth musical Rock On (2010) in Taiwan and the actioner Day of Redemption (2012) in Mainland China.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||City Without Baseball||LAU Moon Tong Tom SCUD|
||My Name is Fame|
||One and a Half|
||Even Mountains Meet|
||Arrest the Restless|
||Lee Rock II|
||Dreams of Glory, A Fighter's Story|
||Queen of Temple Street|