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/ News / Festival Daily
Strolling with Yank Wong under Water

EVENT / MEET THE AUDIENCE / HIGHLIGHT | 26/03/2018

For more than 25 years, Angie Chen had been a director of feature films. She swerved to focus on nonfiction in the past decade, and made her name with the award-winning 2012 documentary One Tree Three Lives, chronicling the multitiered life and career of author Nieh Hualing. i’ve got the blues, featured in this year’s HKIFF, is her second documentary about an artist.

From the moment that Yank Wong Yan-kwai, her new film’s central figure, laid the rule never to shoot him painting, it was clear that he would not be a tame subject. So how could a director possibly document the artist’s true nature?


It took both courage and a reservoir of trust built over the years. Both had been happy with their collaboration in editing the trailer for One Tree Three Lives, so when Chen was proposing another documentary about the Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian for funding by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, she enlisted Wong’s assistance.“After more research, I felt that I didn’t actually have a strong passion to film the artist, and Yank felt the same way,” Chen recalled. “We eventually stopped, but then it occurred to me—why not film Yank?” After emailing the artist for his consent, she received a one-line reply: “Follow your heart.” Mutual friends were surprised that he hadn’t turned her down.

“I’ve known Yank for over 20 years, but we were never close,” Chen said. “We go to the same regular poetry gatherings. Yank was always the quiet one, but I could see that he’s a very creative person. I’ve been curious to know what’s inside him.”



Chen, who has always tried to remain open in her creative process, was deeply touched by one of Yank’s insights included in the documentary: “I try to stay close to my true nature. I grow fonder of the things I do each day. If this is not the way to be happy, then I really have no idea how to be happy.”

Chen and her filming crew shadowed Yank, allowing his nature to reveal itself spontaneously in daily life. “The conversations and visuals are so full of life,” Chen said. “Yank has doubts about my motives in filming, but I never had any fixed ideas.”

The film has no script or narrative voice-overs—or indeed, any interviews. “I used a lot of writers’ interviews in One Tree Three Lives, but I like each of my films to be different so I intentionally left them out this time,” Chen said. “I’d actually interviewed [several people], but I felt there was really no need. The lively interactions between us are already sufficient.”

Though i’ve got the blues is quite different from her previous documentary, Chen feels that the two share a common essence. “One Tree Three Lives is about the love between Nieh Hualing and her husband, as well as a selfless love for literature. Yank’s passion is for artistic creation. He has never made any sort of compromise for his art. He has always been pure.” An art director for more than 30 films, Yank never worked on a project for the money, Chen added. “It’s really a lofty way of living one’s life.”


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Winners of HKIFF Firebird Awards Announced
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Face to Face with Sammo Hung: Filmmaker in Focus
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Directors of HONEYLAND reflect on documentarian’s role
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MIDNIGHT FAMILY: a gripping universe seen through a private ambulance
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Jiang Wen Master Class: wits and black humor of the HIDDEN MAN
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I WAS AT HOME, BUT: Feelings of opacity and sense of enigma
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YOU HAVE THE NIGHT: Of darkness, fear and dilemmas
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All-star Gala Premiere of FIRST NIGHT NERVES‬
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World premiere of newly restored THE FLOWER GIRL
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Reflecting on religious beliefs through JESUS
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Community Screening: Empathize with women’s struggle through AYKA
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NAKORN-SAWAN: Juxtaposing documentary and fiction
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Highlights
BY THE GRACE OF GOD brings a remarkable conclusion to HKIFF43
02/04/2019
NEVER LOOK AWAY: Looking within for your own freedom
02/04/2019
PUTIN’S WITNESS: Why people give up their freedom?
01/04/2019
Winners of HKIFF Firebird Awards Announced
31/03/2019
Face to Face with Sammo Hung: Filmmaker in Focus
31/03/2019
Directors of HONEYLAND reflect on documentarian’s role
31/03/2019
MIDNIGHT FAMILY: a gripping universe seen through a private ambulance
31/03/2019
Jiang Wen Master Class: wits and black humor of the HIDDEN MAN
30/03/2019
I WAS AT HOME, BUT: Feelings of opacity and sense of enigma
29/03/2019
THREE ADVENTURES OF BROOKE: Searching for Chinese traditions in foreign land
29/03/2019
12 SUICIDAL TEENS: Delving into teenagers’ mind Japan
29/03/2019
GIVE ME A RIDE:Feelings of alienation away from hometown
28/03/2019
YOU HAVE THE NIGHT: Of darkness, fear and dilemmas
28/03/2019
All-star Gala Premiere of FIRST NIGHT NERVES‬
28/03/2019
EVERYBODY KNOWS: Divulging the uncomfortable truths of a family
27/03/2019
Exploring Reclamation and Foreign Labor Issues in A LAND IMAGINED
27/03/2019
Realities and dreams mingle in VANISHING DAYS
27/03/2019
World premiere of newly restored THE FLOWER GIRL
27/03/2019
Reflecting on religious beliefs through JESUS
26/03/2019
Community Screening: Empathize with women’s struggle through AYKA
26/03/2019
Let your emotions flow with IEODO
25/03/2019
影評人朗天推介
25/03/2019
HIS LOST NAME: Extending from Kore-eda Hirokazu’s filmmaking
25/03/2019
Michael Nyman 75th Birthday: Beyond The Piano
24/03/2019
IN THE CLAWS OF CENTURY WANTING: An urban vision of global poverty
24/03/2019
STILL HUMAN: Embracing dreams in life
23/03/2019
PURE LAND: Laments for the ordinary people
23/03/2019
Revitalizing young people with OUR BODY
23/03/2019
THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD: WWI history in 3D wizardry
23/03/2019
MANTA RAY: Dedicated to Rohingya Refugees
22/03/2019
WONG PING ANIMATION COLLECTION: Parables of suppressed emotions
22/03/2019
YOUR FACE: The beauty of light and close-up
22/03/2019
AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING: Meant for the Big Screen
21/03/2019
THE NIKAIDOS' FALL: The Root We Share
21/03/2019
Director Lee Han and Kim Hyang-gi of INNOCENT WITNESS greeted the audience
21/03/2019
影評人張偉雄推介
21/03/2019
NAKORN-SAWAN: Juxtaposing documentary and fiction
21/03/2019
A Hong Kong story at THE CROSSING
21/03/2019
Tsukamoto Shinya: Don't forget the war
20/03/2019
THE SISTERS BROTHERS’ director Jacques Audiard took the limelight at the French Night
20/03/2019
Lee Chang-dong Master Class: a Voyage of Time in PEPPERMINT CANDY
20/03/2019
Centenary of Korean Cinema Illuminates HKIFF!
19/03/2019
影評人劉偉霖推介
19/03/2019
World Premiere of BODIES AT REST powers up HKIFF43!
18/03/2019
HKIFF43 Kicks Off Tonight!
18/03/2019

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