This is a story about male Dan (male performer playing female lead) in Cantonese Opera; a documentary seven years in the making about a marginalized art form.
In Hong Kong, two young men: TAM Wing-lun, and WONG Hau-wai, both have chosen Cantonese Opera as their profession. They want to be the male Dan which is rare in the industry. Without the support of family, the industry or the society, the only thing to keep the two men going is their passion. Ever since they were young, the two have been each other's confidant and supporter, learning how to interpret the role of women, and motivating each other on and off stage. Even when the parts they played on stage have changed, the friendship between the two, on and off stage, remains constant and strong.
The art is not a popular field in Hong Kong. It is impractical and generally not supported. When the road ahead is unclear, how does one continue? How does one reach his final destination?
Director: Cheuk Cheung
Cheuk graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts as a film and television production student, majoring in directing. In 2006, his first 16mm short film The Easter Egg was selected to be a finalist of the Open Category of The 12th Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards.In 2007, his graduation project Lu Cheng was screened at the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2007. Last year, subsidized by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Cheuk finished his short film Love Letter from a Classmate which was selected as a finalist in the Fresh Wave Short Film Competition of the 33th Hong Kong International Film Festival. In late 2009, Cheuk was selected to participate in the very first Golden Horse Film Academy of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. The short film Boyfriend of Xiaozhen co-directed by him and other participants was screened at the Festival.
MY WAY, Cheuk's latest and first feature length documentary, is supported by CNEX Foundation.
From the Director
This is a story with a fascinating beginning.
Tan Yinglun and Wang Houwei, the film's main characters, first met in 2004. At that time, Wang had already been fascinated by Tan's early start as a dan. Wang decided to approach Tan in order to make him the subject of his film MY WAY.
Five years later, because of a fateful encounter, Wang introduced me to Tan. Wang felt it necessary to continue to research for MY WAY. I picked up the project and poured over the research of the past 5 years. Through this process, I realized that Wang and Tan's lives were intimately intertwined. Therefore, I decided to juxtapose their paths in this film, and thus the current rendition of MY WAY was born.
During the making of the film one thing became abundantly clear: validation of ones identity is of tantamount in modern times. Even if one has the best talents, but if these talents are not validated then it's like landing in a foreign country without a visa: no entry. Is this proof that Cantonese Opera has lost its meaning and sustainability in a profit driven society like Hong Kong?
Art has always been a luxury item in Hong Kong. Unless you were born into money, there's hardly any means to invest time into art. While the practical realities of everyday life forces art to be compromised or overlooked. So is art a path that leads to a dead end? Can art exist purely out of passion? How many people would choose art as their goal in life?
Through the lives of two different young Cantonese Opera actors, the diverging paths they've chosen will carve out our generation. They will seize opportunities and leave indelible marks of their dedication. For many artists (myself included) this is the ultimate portrayal of passion.
※ Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festiucal, Best Sound Editing award 2012
※ 9th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, Asian Wide Angle 2012
※ 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, Beijing Film Panorama 2013
※ 3rd Chinese Visual Festival, Competition
※ 13th Chinese Film Media Awards, The Best New Director Candidate Film
※ 3rd Chinese Visual Festival, 3RD PRIZE 2013