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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Tak Cheung TANG
鄧德祥 | TANG Tak Cheung

I inadvertently stumbled into the film industry. It was lots of fun because film is creative work that presents one’s subjective creation in the form of storytelling through images. There is a lot of artistic composition in one image. Whether as martial arts choreographer or director, I’m very happy. Film is a complicated art form that encompasses music, fine arts, costumes, action and other elements. To a creative individual, it is a complete form of expression. That is joyous! But there is something unhappy about films, that films must be hits at the box office, or you will be written off quickly. Keeping the budget under control also places a huge limit on filmmaking. For example, I’d seen talented directors who were seriously hampered by budget limitations. Everything in a film is related to money. A director facing a limited budget creates an agonizing situation for the creative process.

In conclusion, I have two points: First, filmmaking is a joyous event. Yet, it is also a commercial production, with many monetary limits. It is a painful reality. That is the joy and suffering of a director.


From a family of Cantonese origin, Tang Tak-cheung was born in Vietnam in 1945. In his childhood, he frequented his relative’s cinema for free movies, watching anything from Cantonese, Mandarin to Shanghainese and Hollywood movies. He became keenly interested in fine arts during high school and wrote to the likes of Chinese painters Xu Beihong and Qi Baishi in hopes of learning from them. Later, Tang moved to Hong Kong, working in a factory while the thought of filmmaking never crossed his mind.

He had hoped to work in arts and design but ended up joining the film industry by happenstance. Working as an extra with plans to enter Shaw Brothers to work on set design, he became a martial arts performer and later a martial arts choreographer. Tang was noted for staging action set piece aimed at balancing power, dynamics and design. He re-branded the position “martial arts choreographer” as “action choreographer” and had worked on such cherished works as The Sword (1980), The Emperor and His Brother (1981), Buddha’s Palm (1982), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (1983) and My Heart is That Eternal Rose (1989). He has also acted in over a hundred films, mostly of the wuxia and action genre.

In 1983, Tang made his directorial debut with the Shaw Brothers martial arts film Demon of the Lute, an adaptation of a popular novel by Ni Kuang, for which he also wrote the screenplay and designed the action sequences.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1984 《游俠情》
Long Road to Gallantry
1983 《六指琴魔》
Demon of the Lute