Hong Kong cinema was in its golden age in the 1980s and 90s, as over a hundred productions were made every year. Since the decline of the traditional market, the Hong Kong film industry is far from its best days now. Yet from a different perspective, one can’t help but marvel at how a healthy and dazzling film industry had been supported by a singular city of several million for such a long time. As one would say in the world of football: there is always going to be ups and downs in form but technique and style will last forever.
Lee Chi-ngai was an art major while studying in Canada. But his passion for cinema led him to continue his education in film at London Film School, which was also the alma mater of Ann Hui and Yim Ho. In 1984, he began his film career as art director.
When Vengeance is Mine (1988) had a change in director in the middle of shooting, Lee took charge at the helm and never looked back. In 1991, he wrote and directed This Thing Called Love, which effortlessly depicts a love story sensitive to middle class folks and was considered a breakthrough in the portrayal of marriage in Hong Kong cinema. The film cemented his reputation in the industry with a Best Screenplay prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
In the early 1990s, Lee co-founded United Filmmakers Organization (UFO) with Eric Tsang Chi-wai, Peter Chan Ho-sun, Jacob Cheung Chi-leung and James Yuen Sai-sang. Lee and Peter Chan directed romantic comedies such as Tom, Dick and Harry (1993) and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father! (1993) to both commercial and critical success, which includes Best Director and Best Screenplay nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Tom, Dick and Harry. His other directing credits include Heaven Can’t Wait (1995), Mack the Knife (1995), Lost and Found (1996) and the Hong Kong-Japan co-production The Sleepless Town (1998), featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro.
Following the footsteps of Jackie Chan, Leslie Cheung and Faye Wong, Lee is one of the few figures of the Hong Kong entertainment industry to find success in Japan. His 2009 film Dance, Subaru! is his third film adapted from a Japanese manga. Recently, he directed a segment of the omnibus film Tales from the Dark I (2013), which was adapted from a series of novels by writer Lillian Lee.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Tales from the Dark I|
||Lost and Found|
||Mack the Knife|
||Heaven Can't Wait|
||Tom, Dick And Hairy||CHAN Peter|
||He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father!||CHAN Peter|
||This Thing Called Love|
||Vengeance Is Mine|