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“Love in a Puff” Interview with Pang Ho-cheung (Director) (10/25)

“Love in a Puff” Interview with Pang Ho-cheung (Director) (10/25)

A love story of smokers in Hong Kong where a smoking ban has been enforced. Following is an interview with Pang Ho-cheung, who is a popular director as well as a regular at the TIFF.
©2010 TIFF

---All of your films, except for the latest “Dream Home” (2010), have all been screened. What draws you to the TIFF?

Many audiences of the TIFF are so enthusiastic. They come to watch their favorite director’s films year after year. Audiences in Hong Kong come for the stars, but they see directors as “an author,” which is phenomenal for creators.

---Your original, and a little maniac viewpoint must be attracting an audience. How do you balance the commercial viability with the maniac features?

I am always aiming for a commercial success, so I don’t know what to say about being maniac (laughs). Having said that, similar films tend to be made following a block buster film, but I have no budget to make a science fiction film in full CG just because “Transformer” was such a smash hit. That is why I think of other ways, something that will attract the audience because it is different.
©2010 TIFF

---In the Hong Kong film industry, one blockbuster used to be followed by a mass of films in the same theme. I sense your “modernity” for avoiding such a custom.

I get easily bored and I cannot keep making films in the same theme (laughs).

---How did you come up with the idea of a love story involving smoking?

It was in Hong Kong. I had a meal with a friend, and then went to his office with him. A lot of women, not his work colleagues from different floors, greeted him in a friendly way by the lift. My friend told me that he came to know those women through smoking in a nearby alleyway because smoking is banned in the office. I was shocked! I have been missing the opportunities to get to know many women because I don’t smoke! Since the smoking ban in Hong Kong, many such ‘social places’ have come about, which are also places where people from different backgrounds meet. I started to write the script for “Love in a Puff” after I realized this.

---The smoky location site must have been hard for you since you don’t smoke.

I didn’t even want to go near the site because it was filled with smoke. I persevered at the beginning, but then resorted to using a walkie-talkie. I had to adjust the amount of smoke, so I had a new set of smoke for each cut, and ended up going over budget. I underestimated the price of cigarettes.

---You said in the past, “I want to stick to pure Honk Kong films because the Hong Kong film industry is working more and more in collaboration with mainland China.” I was really impressed with this comment. This “Love in a Puff” is definitely made in Hong Kong.

Having said that, the situation has changed, and I may not be able to avoid collaboration with mainland China. Film investors do not pay attention to 100% Hong Kong films any more. So I moved my production base to Beijing. I made a 40-minute short film (*1) to start with, and currently I am producing my first feature-length film in China (*2). Most of the recent Hong Kong-China collaborations have been big-budget period actions. I believe there are many other themes to be addressed, and I am intending to carry on making films with a twist in the viewpoint, and I would like many people to watch them.

*1 Directed by Derek Tsang / Jimmy Wan, Starring Zhou Xun and Lawrence Chow
*2 Directed by Derek Tsang / Jimmy Wan, Starring Shawn Yue and Zhang Jingchu

(Interviewed by Ryoichi Sugiyama)

Love in a Puff
Film Information

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KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)