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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Wah SUEN
孫華 | SUEN Wah

I didn’t set my career goal to be a director. I just progressed from crew member to director, dictated by needs of work.

Working at a left-wing company, which at the time was called “patriotic film company”, everything was dictated by mission and policy, answering to the question “for whom does art serve?” There had been lots of learning in numerous meetings over the years. After all that exhaustion, my mind remained confused.

Shooting documentaries, I often walked or rode on horses for days, passing through primitive jungles in search of minority tribes cut off from modern civilization. The transcendent benevolence and humanity of those people cleansed the soul and freed the mind.


Suen Wah was born in Guangdong China, in 1935. Heentered film in 1953 when he joined the publicity department of Great Wall Movie Enterprise, where he was responsible for photographing stars and writing promotional copies. In the 1960s, he began working as unit manager, production manager and assistant director. He was the assistant director and production manager of the pioneering wuxia picture The Jade Bow (1966), co-directed by Chueng Sing-yim and actor-director Fu Chi. In 1969, Suen wrote the screenplay for Three in One (directed by Cheung Sing-yim) for Feng Huang, Great Wall’s sister company.

In 1979, Suen teamed with Wu Pui-yung to direct Boyfriend, starring Nina Paw Hee-ching and Henry Fong Ping. Since the early 1980s, Suen started to shoot geographic documentaries on the landscapes of China, including Wonderful Sichuan (1982) and Tibet (1985), which were popular with audience in Hong Kong. Suen was a former committee member of the South China Film Industry Workers Union.

Suen Wah remembered that “there was a time when the company had its own theater chains, but there were not enough narrative films. So I started to shoot documentaries for the company theaters. My documentaries were all shot in China and they mainly focus on regional sights and cultures. Since the Mainland had been separated from Hong Kong and Macau for over 30 years, the scenery of China was a huge attraction and the documentaries performed surprisingly well at the box office. So I was making documentaries for ten years. Yet after that movement in Mainland in 1989, the spirit had faded. After laying low for a while, I switched to developing and producing, before retiring in 2000.”

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1990 《秘境神奇錄》
Mysteries in Southwest China
1987 《今古婚俗奇觀》
Amazing Marriage Customs
1985 《神秘的西藏》
1982 《四川搜秘錄》
Wonderful Sichuan
1979 《雲南奇趣錄》
The Fantastic Spots of China CHANG Tseng
1979 《男朋友》
Boyfriend WU Pei Yung
1979 《雲南奇趣錄》
The Fantastic Spots in China CHANG Tseng