2001 | Cantonese、Putonghua | HD Digital | Color | 102min | Chinese Subtitle
Director: Stephen Chow．Scriptwriter: Stephen Chow, Tsang Kan-cheong． Cinematographer: Kwong Ting-wo, Kwen Pak-huen．Editor: Kai Kit-wai．Art Director: Ho Kim-hung．Costume: Choy Yim-man．Music: Raymond Wong．Action: Ching Siu-tung
Cast: Stephen Chow, Zhao Wei, Ng Man-tat, Wong Yat-fei
Producer: Yeung Kwok-fai．Production: The Star Overseas, Universe Entertainment． World Sales: Universe Entertainment
Shaolin is the designer label of martial arts lore used as a powerful tool in modern art and culture. Shaolin Soccer combines Stephen Chow’s deadpan ironic humor with martial arts film conventions and grafts them onto a Japanese anime-like sports movie complete with computer-generated visual effects. The result is a tremendously entertaining work that slyly references Hong Kong issues while honoring Bruce Lee and working the audience’s funny bone to exhaustion.
Date: 14/4 (Friday)
Venue: HK Science Museum Lecture Hall
Free admission for all screenings. Tickets are available to public on-site 30 minutes prior to each screening on a first-come, first served basis. Limit to one ticket per person.
Shaolin Soccer premiered in July 2001 and broke Hong Kong box office records. What are the
ingredients for its success?
Timing was very important. We managed to capture the current mentality of Hong Kong people. We combined action, morale boosting, and comic elements and produced the expected result. In Hong Kong, local films still have the advantage. And the film’s popularity wasn’t limited to Hong Kong. It topped the charts all over Southeast Asia. That, I think, is exceptional.
The film was shot in Shanghai. This coincides with the debate on the rivalry between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Did the choice of Shanghai have any special implications?
The original idea was to offset the story in a modern city with high-rises everywhere, and place all these nobodies therein. To me, there was no other choice than Shanghai. If we didn’t shoot in Hong Kong, then it must be Shanghai. I wanted very much to shoot in the mainland, to try producing a film there.
Why? Is filming in the mainland a trend?
It’s refreshing. Having produced films in Hong Kong for many years, I’ve used many locations in the territory that the audience is so familiar with. Mainland China, on the other hand, is a very big country with vast resources. It allows me to develop and expand my ideas with new possibilities. I also want the film to be distributed and shown in China. The film will benefit from our collaboration with a mainland crew.
The film describes how ordinary characters, in their attempt to promote Shaolin kung fu, allow themselves to be trampled upon, how they remain faithful to their cause and each other, and finally find new life where there is none. They change their own fates. Do you think Hong Kong people favor this kind of topic at this point in time?
These types of subjects are enjoyable at any point in time, but of course it would make a deeper impression on the audience now. I’m also a Hong Konger who’s experienced the shocks and difficulties of other Hong Kongers. I’m part of the community. Frankly speaking, I was motivated by personal experiences to shoot this movie. I admit this is the topic I’m most eager to talk about at this time. If something is right, you need to be persistent; tomorrow will be a better day.
Interview with Stephen Chow, Hong Kong Panorama 2001–2002