Tsai Yang-ming

Tsai Yang-Ming

Written by Tsai Yang-ming himself:

“My film career started when I was the manager of a small theater. Back then, I was just a 19-year-old kid, and embracing the world of cinema everyday just made me so filled with joy. After leaving the army, I plunged into the film world, first as a continuity clerk, then becoming a writer, actor, director, and producer. 2013 marks the 50th year since I joined the business, and movies still make me so excited. The first success in my film career came at the golden age of Taiwanese dialect films (Note: which are celebrated in this year’s NYAFF selection Forever Love). In a few years’ time, I starred in more than 200 movies. Back then, all filmmakers were a big family, even though I was shooting three movies at the same time, with less than three hours of sleep each day, I never complained. In 1969, I started directing Mandarin films. Taiwan was still under martial law, the government banned the freedom of speech with no mercy, casting a shadow over the whole film industry. I once finished making a movie with high cost, but one third of the film was cut due to strict censorship. Every inch of the negative that was sliced away was a stab in my heart. Under the harsh circumstances, I still overcame the difficulties and directed more than 70 films, in all kinds of genres and styles, from wuxia, kungfu, detective, gangster to comedies. I won the best screenplay award at the Asian Film Festival with Never Too Late to Repent.  My other works, such as Big Land Flying Eagles (Da di fei Ying), Woman Revenger, The Girl Robber and I, Big Head, A-Dai (Joe-Goody), all represented different styles in my line of work. Somebody called me the godfather of Taiwan realistic cinema, but all I wanted to do was to explore the boundaries of Taiwan film genres. With the help from God, I was granted many chances along the way. Looking back at my fifty years of filmmaking, in my own country and in Hong Kong, from a continuity clerk to a director, from a teenager to an elder, I’ve never felt alone.”