Herman Yau

Discussions about Hong Kong Movies

Herman Yau

Postby Taijikid » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:35 am

Halloween is nearly upon us here in the US, and my son and I have been watching some seasonal movies, including a few HK horror films. Last weekend we went through two of the Troublesome Night movies, HK's low-budget horror anthology series from the late 90s/early 00s. The first six entries were directed by Herman Yau, a filmmaker who has consistently proven that you don't need a ton of money to make very watchable films.

On impulse I checked my shelves to see how many Herman Yau-helmed movies I have purchased over the past 10 years, and I came up with the following list, many of which are among my favorites:

City Cop
Cocktail
Ebola Syndrome (oh my!)
From the Queen to the Chief Executive
Gong Tau
Herbal Tea (a really sweet film)
Killing End
Nightmares in Precinct 7
On the Edge
Shark Busters
Taxi Hunter
Untold Story
Untold Story III
Walk In (Danny Lee in a very funny comedic turn)

I am about to order some movies from YesAsia and have placed both True Women for Sale and First 7th Night on my list.

In my estimation Herman Yau is one of HK cinema's unsung heroes--a relatively young filmmaker who is staying home and making consistently interesting movies dealing with local issues. And apparently he is finding the audience sufficient to keep doing what he loves.

Once again, my thanks to all of the good folks who keep this board going. I can only read it during my breaks at work, and so I am able to post infrequently. But whenever I find the time to visit, I feel as if I'm spending a few moments with old friends.

Vicki
Last edited by Taijikid on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Taijikid
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:17 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Herman Yau

Postby dleedlee » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:47 pm

In my estimation Herman Yau is one of HK cinema's unsung heroes--a relatively young filmmaker who is staying home and making consistently interesting movies dealing with local issues. And apparently he is finding the audience sufficient to keep doing what he loves.


I agree 100%, Herman Yau is certainly under-appreciated and is probably, along with Wong Jing, the quintessential Hong Kong film maker.

Have you checked out his website: http://www.hermanyau.com/ehome.htm ?
饮水思源 Better to light a candle than curse the darkness; Measure twice, cut once. Check yourself...Punctuation.
Pinyin to Wade-Giles. Proper nouns & proper adjectives. Titles tool
User avatar
dleedlee
HKMDB Immortal
 
Posts: 4811
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 7:06 pm
Location: USA

Re: Herman Yau

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:27 pm

If Yau doesn't nurture young writers and directors to stay and work IN the city, through some kind of "workshop" system or whatever, he really should consider it. His films are among the very few these days that reflect a distinctly local flavour and deal with issues relevant almost exclusively to Hong Kong people, both at home and abroad, many of whom, presumably, still enjoy stories about their city. I think when you factor in the Hong Kong diaspora, which is huge (including, sadly, the piracy that goes along with it), Yau's film's reach a sizable enough audience to warrant his remaining in the city. :D
User avatar
Brian Thibodeau
 
Posts: 3951
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: Near Chinatown

Re: Herman Yau

Postby dleedlee » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:02 pm

Interview with Herman Yau in current issue of bc magazine:

But these films don’t look like the kind you really want to make. Is there anything coming up for you?
Well, at least the idea of Split Second Murders comes from me. Actually my next two films are mainstream commercial films – the Chinese New Year comedy All’s Well End’s Well, Too 2009 and a small-budget film on the early life of Ip Man.

What do you see in the near future for Hong Kong cinema?
I hope there are more authentic Hong Kong films – they have been vanishing in recent years. Everyone now either produces works catering to the market on the Mainland or Hollywood-like blockbusters. The unique feature of Hong Kong films is lost. But we fall into a dilemma – we want our films to be entertaining but at the same time we have to pass the censorship of the Chinese government. In fact, we know the films that didn’t pass the censors are very popular on the pirate market – the Mainland audiences love those Hong Kong films.
Full article

And a review of one of his current films Split Second Murders
http://www.bcmagazine.net/hk.bcmagazine ... ders.shtml
饮水思源 Better to light a candle than curse the darkness; Measure twice, cut once. Check yourself...Punctuation.
Pinyin to Wade-Giles. Proper nouns & proper adjectives. Titles tool
User avatar
dleedlee
HKMDB Immortal
 
Posts: 4811
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 7:06 pm
Location: USA

Re: Herman Yau

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:43 pm

Herman Yau wrote:but at the same time we have to pass the censorship of the Chinese government. In fact, we know the films that didn’t pass the censors are very popular on the pirate market – the Mainland audiences love those Hong Kong films.


This censorship routine really seems to help ensure that Hong Kong films stay marginalized while China slowly---sloooooowly--enables more freedoms while making sure every new generation knows where those freedoms come from and the value of pretending to be grateful (or just being grateful) for them. The black market, of course, only points out the hypocrisy of the whole notion, but in the meantime, Hong Kong filmmakers are stuck operating in the "safe" zone. That's not entirely a bad thing because, in fairness, a lot of Hong Kong films pre-handover would've sailed through Chinese censors of today (as then) with nary a trim, but the limitations now in place must surely be secretly frustrating to many Hong Kong creatives, especially those with long-standing associations to the city's rich cinematic history, who are willing to work for the mainland market to keep the rent paid up but likely wish they could tell a broader range of stories, and dish out a dark ending or two.

This is one of the reasons I rarely find myself overly jazzed by most of what comes out of mainland Chinese cinema these days, despite the obvious (and often staggering) talents behind and in front of the cameras: nearly every film I've watched has those goddamned leash marks around its neck. With the more commercial fare, that's usually not a problem, but there are many filmmakers who really seem to be hamstrung by the philosophical restraints they're forced to work under, and you can practically smell it in their product. As boring as SUMMER PALACE was for my tastes, it's one of a precious few (in fact, it might be the ONLY one) that actually had the balls to put forth a point of view that the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-benevolent government might find unsavoury. For now, I'll guess I'll just continue to hold out hope that more Chinese filmmakers would look to it as an inspiration for making truly challenging films, or putting challenging messages in commercial films, and gradually leading the government to acknowledge the obvious: that the people are already watching what they want to watch right now. Maybe, by the time I'm 90, Hong Kong filmmakers will once again be able to make whatever kind of Hong Kong film they want! :lol:


On an unrelated note, how many biopics of Ip Man do we really need?
User avatar
Brian Thibodeau
 
Posts: 3951
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: Near Chinatown

Re: Herman Yau

Postby KMGor » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:35 am

He's very active in HK and seems committed to making actual HK films. That makes me like him immediately. I have to ask though - of his newer films, the only one I've seen is Chaos. Chaos was generally nicely shot (though betrayed by its low budget at times), but not too good of a film otherwise.

Are any of his films of the past 5 years worth checking out? I'm currently trying to seek out worthwhile more recent smaller HK films, but most of what I find is pretty disappointing. Rebellion and Gong Tau sound interesting...
KMGor
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:42 am

Re: Herman Yau

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:18 am

I'd recommend WHISPERS AND MOANS and its sequel TRUE WOMEN FOR SALE. Very good, very local films.
User avatar
Brian Thibodeau
 
Posts: 3951
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: Near Chinatown


Return to Hong Kong Movies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

cron