Tuesday, May 16, 2023


Soi Cheang feels that the idea of man overcoming fate is very hard to realize.  He tends to believe that state of mind changes fate.

Soi Cheang says that Yau Nai Hoi's script is spot on, making him who loves to make script changes to accept his original ideas in making MAD FATE

Lokman Yeung and Gordon Lam's performances have received praises
courtesy of mingpao.com

Director Soi Cheang Pou Soi directed the film MAD FATE (MING ONG), which revolved around fate and metaphysics. He claimed that the spirit of Ah Q, when life and career fell into a period of loss he relied completed on the idea of "state of mind decides fate" to get over the hard times. Speaking of working with screenwriter Yau Nai Hoi, who he has known for years, for the first time, Cheang Pou Soi revealed that the process ran into enormous hardship; but he discovered that as long as he adjusted his state of mind, willing to toss away ideas that he has stubbornly held on to, he was able to find a new way out and resolved the fear that troubled him for 19 years. He said, "I used to feel that for me to make a comedy, it would be more horrifying than watching a horror film."

Cheang Pou Soi in 2004 directed HIDDEN HEROES (JUI GIK 8 Yuet 15), which made HK$ 9.74 million at the box office. Despite the decent performance he has rarely made a comedy since then, as he strongly attacked his expertise of action, horror and suspense subjects. After 19 years, he in MAD FATE worked with screenwriter Yau Nai Hoi and changed his filmmaking direction. "The Nai Hoi I know isn't a screenwriter who messes around and slacks off. When I read the script, I already sensed the humor. I didn't deliberately made MAD FATE into a comedy. I made it seriously like a drama and hoped that everything flowed out naturally."

Cheng Pou Soi remembered when he went to the cinema for MAD FATE audience appreciation events. "When I heard the audience's laughter, I felt a strong sense of satisfaction. Because the movies I made have more intense atmosphere, usually the viewers would not make any noise. However this movie inspired me, and increased my confidence. I no longer resist making comedy, from now on I would dare to try."

Changing the script while making a movie was something that used to happen constantly with Cheang Pou Soi, but this time he and Yau Nai Hoi mutually respected each other. He let Yau's script drive, while Yau Nai Hoi also would not have extra opinions on his production method. The collaboration was very pleasant. "When I made movies before, I would add my own ideas into the script. When the screenwriter wrote three things, I would skip making two of them. However this time I know the script is much more complicated, all the destined, coincidence, fate are connected. If I move one thing it would cause a domino effect and everything goes wrong. I have to be very careful in the handling, I can't just ignore the script to please myself."

Was this the most well behaved time for him as a director? Cheang Pou Soi laughed, "Yes, you can say that." Would they make a comedy next time? Cheang Pou Soi said that he did not know yet, he and Yau Nai Hoi had an understanding that they would want to work together again. They had a very initial concept, ultimately Yau Nai Hoi needed time for his ideas to brew.

MAD FATE examined fate with the general public, whether in the mortal world "man would conquer fate" or "destiny is hard to go against". Cheang Pou Soi felt that the idea of man conquering fate was very hard to realize, instead he tended to believe in state of mind would change fate. Speaking of his daughter's tumor being caught when she was little, he and his wife cried but still held out hope. After his daughter's operation the tumor was confirmed to be benign. Her health has been great as this year she would turn 14. "I don't know whether the strength in facing the matter was able to change the result, or was the result already predetermined? At least the attitude of holding onto hope wouldn't be wrong, in life people have to have the motivation to face problems."

Cheang Pou Soi loved to use strange ways to explore the filmmaking feeling. He revealed that in order to explain the important role "Heaven" played, he thought about using birds, crows, hawks or children to symbolize it. After quite awhile, in the end he felt that none of them was suitable. He instead used astronomical phenomenon. "For this movie I shot the sky for half a year at home, from morning to night. My wife couldn't bother with me. I wanted everyone to feel the sky but didn't want to be too supernatural. However I was also afraid that the audience would not understand, thus I used effects like colorful clouds, birds taking off to the sky in the rain, and lightning. Luckily the audience said that they sensed man was struggling again heaven."

Speaking of the hardest scene to shoot, Cheang Pou Soi brought up the cafe scene. It involved too many people and was an important turning point of the film. He said that during the shoot he could not sense the tense atmosphere, maybe because the schedule was rushed and the location was small. He could only use multiple angles and coordinated with editing to bring out the tension; the rooftop ending also had 3 versions before he was able to decide which way to go.

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