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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Lei PAN
潘壘 | PAN Lei

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Pan Lei was born in Haiphong, Vietnam, in 1927. When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, he and his family moved to Yunnan, China, where he studied at the Yuexiu Middle School. He gave up his studies to join the military in 1943. As part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force, he was trained in India before being sent to the battlefield at the Chinese-Indian-Burmese border. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant after the war, he returned to Vietnam after discharge. Yet he was met with the First Indochina War back home and was forced to move to Shanghai. While studying at the Jiangsu Medical College (now Nanjing Medical University), he dabbled in writing Modern Chinese poetry, prose and short stories. In 1949, he relocated to Taiwan and founded a monthly magazine on arts and cultural. A novelist himself, Pan was one of the most active writers in Taiwan during the 1940s and 50s, a three-time winner of the Chinese Literature Award during that period. In 1952, he self-financed the publication of his novel, which was followed by over a dozen others. In 1977, Linking Publishing compiled over a dozen of his works and published the “Pan Lei Collection.”

In the mid-1950s, Pan was recruited to join Central Motion Picture Corporation when the company adapted his novel Blood Crossin, beginning his career in screenwriting, with 1957’s The Leper Girl his first produced script.

Pan left Central in 1957 but made his directorial debut for the company as a freelancer a year later with On Mount Hehuan (1958). He then wrote and directed The Golden Age (1960). In 1962, his film Typhoon represented Taiwan at the 9th Asia Film Festival (now Asia-Pacific Film Festival), where it won the award for Best Supporting Actress for Tang Pao-yun who also won the same prize at the 1st Golden Horse Awards. Typhoon’s acclaim attracted the attention of Run Run Shaw. In 1963, Pan joined Shaws as director and screenwriter. Lover’s Rock (1964), his first film for Shaw, was a widescreen romance in color that represented Taiwan to compete for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film. In the following year, he completed Song of Orchid Island (1965), which made Pan the first Taiwanese filmmaker to film on the island. It was also cinematographer Hung Ching-yun’s first foray in underwater filming and the results earned him the Best Color Cinematography award at the 12th Asia Film Festival. Pan often adapted his own novels into film, such as the Pre-WWII drama Fallen Petals (1968) and Tomorrow is Another Day (1969). In 1970, Pan directed the Golden Horsewinning Love Without End for Shaw. A year later, he returned to Taiwan and married actress Wen Ling. The couple formed their own company and made The Sword (1971), a stylized wuxia film considered a trailblazer for the genre. He also directed the comedy It All Started With a Bed (1972) and the horror film Strange Story of Crematory (1980).

In 1975, Pan and his family moved to Hong Kong. In a course of ten years, he wrote what is perhaps his magnum opus, a novel of over two million words. In his golden years, Pan penned his autobiography, looking back at a life that has taken him from Vietnam to Shanghai, then to Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as his career in art, literature and film.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1984 《變色的女人》
Woman of Colour
1981 《紋身的女人》
The Tattoo
1980 《火葬場奇案》
Strange Story of Crematory
1978 《通天老鼠下江南》
The Adventure of the "Heaven Mouse"
1977 《搵身三十六計》
The Crooks
1975 《妙妙女郎》
Cuties Parade
1975 《色中餓鬼》
Evil Seducers
1975 《情鎖》
Love Lock
1972 《好夢連床》
It All Started with a Bed
1972 《傻大姐》
Funny Girl
1971 《劍》
The Sword
1971 《報恩刀》
The Merciful Sword
1970 《新不了情》
Love Without End
1969 《紫金鏢》
Purple Darts
1969 《明日又天涯》
Tomorrow Is Another Day
1969 《捉妖斬魔》
Devil Fighter
1968 《狼與天使》
The Wolf and the Angel
1968 《天下第一劍》
The Fastest Sword
1968 《落花時節》
Fallen Petals
1967 《紫貝殼》
The Purple Shell
1966 《毒玫瑰》
Poison Rose
1966 《山賊》
Downhill They Ride
1965 《蘭嶼之歌》
Song of Orchid Island
1964 《情人石》
Lovers' Rock
1962 《颱風》
1960 《金色年代》
The Golden Age
1959 《合歡山上》
On Mount Hehuan