Tsui Hark


Tsui Hark
(Xu Ke)
b. 1951, Vietnam
Film director, producer, screenwriter, actor
A versatile, original filmmaker, Tsui Hark has been a major figure in Hong Kong cinema since the 1980s. Like his colleagues of the ‘Hong Kong New Wave’ (see Fong, Allen), one of his first films, Dangerous Encounters—1st Kind (Diyi leixing weixian, 1980), was a realistic drama, but he quickly switched to more commercial genres—action comedy and martial arts fantasy. After studying in Texas and working in New York’s Chinatown, Tsui worked for the TV station TVB (1977–9) before turning to feature directing. His most significant influence is on martial arts films: the combination of Chinese mythology and dazzling special effects imported from Hollywood became his trademark after Zu: Warriors from the MagicMountain (Xin shushan jianxia, 1983).
In 1984, with his wife, Nansun Shi, he founded The Film Workshop, becoming his own producer: Peking Opera Blues (Dao Ma Dan, 1986), the highly successful series Once Upon a Time in China (Huang feihong, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) and The Blade (Dao, 1995). He also produced the work of others: John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (Yingxiong bense, 1986) and the brilliant martial arts series directed by his close collaborator, Ching Siu-tung, A Chinese Ghost Story (Qiannü youhun, 1987, 1990) and Swordsman (Xiao’ao jianghu, 1990, 1992, 1993). In 1997, in Hollywood, he directed Double Team and Knock Off, which generated mixed reviews. Meanwhile, he started producing feature-length animation films. He came back to Hong Kong with a violent yet stylish action film, Time and Tide (Shunliu niliu, 2000) and a return to the fantastic martial arts genre, The Legend of Zu (Shushan zhengshuan, 2001).
See also: He Jiping
Ho, S. (ed.) (2002). The Swordsman and His Jiang Hu: Tsui Hark and Hong Kong Film. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Film Archives.
Teo, Stephen (2001). ‘Tsui Hark: National Style and Polemic’. In Esther Yau (ed.), At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 143–58.
Zou, John (2003). ‘A Chinese Ghost Story: Ghostly Council and Innocent Men’. In Chris Berry (ed.), Chinese Films on Focus: 25 New Takes. London: BFI, 39–46.
BéRéNICE REYNAUD

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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