1999 | Cantonese | 35mm | Color | 92min | Chinese Subtitle
Director: Wilson Yip．Scriptwriter: Matt Chow, Wilson Yip, Cheung Man．Cinematographer: Lam Wah-chuen．Editor: Cheung Ka-fai．Art Director: Stanley Cheung．Music: Tommy Wai
Cast: Francis Ng, Louis Koo, Helena Law, Michelle Saram
Producer: Joe Ma．Production: Brilliant Idea Group．World Sales: Mei Ah Entertainment Group
Wilson Yip’s cop drama boasts intense action, yet shows surprising heart in its depiction of Hong Kong people. Two detectives stake out an apartment complex while pursuing a dangerous criminal, only to become embroiled in the inter-relationships of their colorful neighbors, led by the dementia-suffering Granny. Finding uncommon insight in ordinary lives, Bullets Over Summer is a celebration of everyday Hong Kong nestled inside one of its cinema’s most iconic genres.
Date: 17/4 (Monday)
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.
This is the first time you’ve made a cop thriller. What motivated you to choose this genre?
I felt that circumstances have changed in Hong Kong cinema, and that I should go along with the changes. To a great degree, I felt I could prolong my career this way. It was paving the way for the future; in any case, it’s always better if you learn to make a film with a lot of action. The other thing is that I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as an outstanding director of small-budget films, because when people put you in a pigeonhole like that, it becomes difficult to make big budget features. However, in Hong Kong, there are always opportunities to make films of different genres. Look at Jeff Lau. At this phase of my career, I want to experiment more.
You didn’t go through the baptism of kung fu/action pictures in the 1980s. How did you prepare yourself psychologically to film Bullets Over Summer?
I might not have the experience, but I’m not afraid. I feel that the form of Hong Kong’s action films advances because of individuals and their ideas. When John Woo appeared, things changed. What makes him special is his romantic approach. In the field of costume martial arts films, Ching Siu-tung made his contributions. After that, the action genre arrived at another juncture with Gordon Chan and The Final Option . That film impressed me with its realistic portrayal. It is visceral—not a breakthrough in camera work or anything like that. But up till now, the entire formula for action films has stopped in time. I wanted to try out my own ideas; that was the only way I could go ahead. To put it simply, apart from thrills and suspense, I wanted to create laughter. My model is Mission: Impossible when Tom Cruise is suspended in mid-air as he’s about to steal that prize and Jean Reno is inside the ventilator shaft and he sees a rat. That scene imparts both suspense and laughter. In Bullets Over Summer , a comparable situation is the scene where a coin rolls down from the rooftop and through the eaves. Essentially, misunderstandings that arise in the plot are part of that scheme.
Interview with Wilson Yip, Hong Kong Panorama 1999-2000