Chow Yun-fat


Chow Yun-fat
(Jau Yun Faat; Zhou Runfa)
b. 1955, Lamma Island, Hong Kong Film actor
Along with Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-fat is the most popular actor in Hong Kong. And like Chan, Chow has ‘crossed over’ to the West, especially in Ang Lee’s pan-Chinese/US martial arts co-production, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu canglong, 2000). A versatile, charismatic performer, Chow has worked in a variety of genres—television, comedies, romances—before reaching international fame as an action hero.
At sixteen, Chow enrolled in the TVB actors training programme. From 1976 to 1985, he appeared in twenty TV series, the most popular being The Bund (Shanghai tang/Sheung Hoi Tan, 1980). In the 1980s, he worked with important film auteurs, such as Stanley Kwan, Tony Au Ting-ping and Ann Hui, who skilfully exploited both his romanticism and physicality in The Story of Woo Viet (Hu Yue de gushi, 1981) and Love in a Fallen City (Qingcheng zhi lian, 1984). The turning point of his career came through his work with John Woo: A Better Tomorrow (Yingxiong bense) Part I (1986) and II (1987), The Killer (Diexue shuangxiong, 1989), Once a Thief (Zhongheng sihai, 1990) and Hard-Boiled (Lashou shentan, 1992).
Though he continued to make romantic comedies, such as Mabel Cheung’s An Autumn’s Tale (Qiutang de tonghua, 1987), in the second stage of his career he was mostly cast in action films by the likes of Ringo Lam Leng-tung (the City on Fire/ Longhu fengyun series, 1987), Wong Jing (the God of Gamblers/Dushen series, 1989, 1994) and Wai Ka-fai (Peace Hotel/Heping fandian, 1995). In the USA, Chow worked with directors Antoine Fuqua, James Foley, Andy Tennant and Paul Hunter in the film Bulletproof Monk (2003), which was produced by John Woo.
BÉRÉNICE REYNAUD

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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