Friday, August 20, 2010

East Meets West: A Phone Conversation With Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan

By Scott Tre

Being the ambassador for a culture and medium that is largely alien to your countrymen can be a lonely task.  Even after pointing out the positive attributes of said culture and medium, the jaded and indifferent masses can be slow to respond.  Thankfully, the more enthusiastic and tireless among us keep fighting the good fight and signing the praises of art they deem worthy of worldwide exposure.

Bey Logan has been working tirelessly for decades to bridge the gap between Asian and Western action cinema.  While his crusade has been relatively slow to bear fruit, he does not let the thanklessness of his chosen path deter him.  In 1996 he authored a comprehensive introduction to Hong Kong action cinema fittingly titled: Hong Kong Action Cinema.  During his tenure with The Weinstein Company, he helped establish their Dragon Dynasty imprint as being a brand worthy of respect among genre fans.  Now with his company B&E Productions he hopes to produce films that will be the ultimate blend of both eastern and western sensibilities.  Mr. Logan recently took time from his busy schedule to speak with me all the way from Hong Kong.  His encyclopedic knowledge of Hong Kong cinema made for one of the most informative conversations I have ever had with anyone on the subject.  I now present that exchange in it's entirety, so that other may partake of Mr. Logan's wealth of knowledge. 

Scott Tre: Mr. Logan, can you give my readers a bit of background on yourself?

Bey Logan: Absolutely.  I am a longtime Hong Kong Cinema/Asian Action cinema aficionado.  I guess by now I have been regarded as something of an expert seeing as I've wasted so many of my adult years on this particular field.  I've been really fortunate.  I've been living in Hong Kong for over twenty years now and during that time I have been lucky enough to work variously as a journalist and as a scriptwriter, as an actor, as a producer.  I've never actually directed a film as yet but it may happen one day.  I've written a book called Hong Kong Action Cinema many moons ago, which is like the first narrative history of the genre I think.  I'm still very much involved with being both historian and somebody who's celebrating the history of Hong Kong cinema with DVD commentaries and various DVD labels....while at the same time looking forward I'm continuing to be a filmmaker and I'm writing and producing films as we speak.  Going ahead I continue to do those things and I'm also writing the long awaited followup to Hong Kong Action Cinema.  That's my background.  That's where I'm at today.

Scott Tre: Tell me a bit about B&E productions.

Bey Logan:  Well up until September of last year I was the Vice President of Asia at The Weinstein Company, which is run by Harvey Weinstein, one of the Weinstein brothers from Mirimax back in the day.  Now basically it was a mutual thing where I think they were restructuring the company and I was three years with the Wienstein Company, I think three years tends to be long enough to be full time to be with any company if you don't have any ownership of, if you don't share in the company.  One year to figure out what to do, one year to do a good job, one year to kind of get fed up with it.  So at the end of September I left and I immediately started my own company B&E which is Breaking & Entering productions and went into production on our first film The Blood Bond which is now actually called Blood Bond: Shadow God because it'll be the first of a trilogy.  So we have three films, the second one is called Blood Bond: Red Dawn Rising.  So I did that right away.  But interestingly, the way the world turns, about a month or more ago Harvey Weinstein was back in Hong Kong and we did some work together and he said "I want you to come back as a consultant to the company".  So I am back on their payroll again, but not full time, so I have B&E which is my main daily focus which is a company where we produce films which kind of handles my career as a DVD commentary deliverer and somebody doing research on Hong Kong cinema and also publishing the book.  So it's kind of all the stuff that I'm interested in doing. 

Scott Tre: Being that you are producing you own films now, what types of action films are trying to do?  What is the focus?

Bey Logan: I think if there was any kind of thought line to my work in every field was in some way bringing east and west together.  You look at me as a person who was born and raised in the United Kingdom moving to Hong Kong and working as a white guy in the predominantly Chinese industry.  Immediately that's bringing east and west together by having me here.  I have my children now who are all your age... there's that aspect as well.  I feel like I'm kind of in that borderline between bringing these two cultures together somehow.  That sounds quite highfalutin.  My other main aim is to kind of have fun and make fun films, but I also think that with the films what we're trying to do is to figure out a way to try to bring the best of east and west together.  For example, maybe I think internationally films benefit from having an American or Hollywood style story structure.  Maybe some of the scripting of some of the Asian action films makes them quite inaccessible for mainstream American audiences.  So  I'm trying to use American story structure on our films.  At the same time I think that nobody would argue that Hong Kong cinema action sequences are not absolutely state of the art.  So the idea is to kind of blend together American style stories, characters, things that you can relate to an international audience with the Hong Kong production values and our charismatic leading players and these amazing action scenes.  So of course every film is different, but in general, that's the kind of work that we're doing.

Scott Tre: Certain Hong Kong productions that are revered in the west, particularly in the United States, such as The Killer or The Five Venoms, were not instant hits in Hong Kong.  Is that because of cultural differences you mentioned or is there something else? 

Bey Logan: It's interesting.  There's a couple of more recent examples of that.  Seven Swords is a very good example.  Seven Swords is a movie that actually underperformed in Asia, generally.  It did okay.  Pound for pound it did fantastic business in the other territories where it was released in the west.  So I think there's a case that sometimes in the local market in Hong Kong a film comes out, like with Five Venoms, and it's regarded as being just another Chang Cheh movie with these Taiwanese Stunt guys doing the film.  With The Killer it's just another gun play movie from Chow Yun Fat or Seven Swords is just another Tsui Hark swordplay film.  In Asia we've been blessed by so many films of that kind and then in the west sometimes you get that perfect storm where a film comes out and it's released appropriately in the international marketplace by a company that knows what it's doing and people get very excited about that film and it becomes a cult film.  Seven Swords, was commercially very popular, and The Killer predominantly were cult movies.  They are not films that were huge mainstream hits, but they became very strong cult movies because people in the west had not seen that kind of film before.

There's a  famous story about Quentin Tarantino who was trying to persuade, I think it was Fox, to allow John Woo to shoot an American movie and he screened The Killer.  Afterwords the head of the studio turned to Quentin and said "well he can certainly direct an action scene" and Quentin replied yeah and Michelangelo can paint a ceiling!"  So you get that kind of very immediate visceral response to something simply because you haven't seen it before.  I remember being at the premiere of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Cannes.  The first sustained action scene, the fight between Michelle Yeoh's character and Zang Yi's characters.  It goes on and on and on.  At the end there was this huge explosion of applause, during the film, after that scene.  As I sat there I realized the reason for that was that these people had never seen that before.  They don't live in Asia, and also they are not the kind of person that goes to a Chinatown video store to seek out that kind of entertainment.  So like the last movie these guy saw was like Jimmy Wong Yu Man From Hong Kong in like 1976 or whatever it was, the older ones.  Now they are seeing this kind of action for the first time.  So I think that's why some films work in the west, it's because of the surprise value which is not there in Asia.

Scott Tre: Over here in the States, African American audiences have always had a very special connection with martial arts cinema that goes back to the 1970's, through to the inception of Hip-Hop culture up until today.  The Rza is a good example of this phenomenon.  Why do you think that is?

Bey Logan: Well first I have to say, as a white man in his late 40's, I'm probably the least qualified person to talk about the black American cultural experience or Hip-Hop but if you ask me I will give it my best shot.  I do think that basically Chinese action cinema is often about an oppressed minority group who need to overcome a superior enemy and they don't have necessarily huge resources of money initially or education or any of the things that you think somebody would need to get ahead in life.  Instead what they do is they go to Shaolin Temple or they go through a certain training regimen or they rely on the strength of their bond of brotherhood to see them through and to kind of win the day.  I think that is something that resonates very strongly with the African American community in America which has been evidently within the structure of the mainstream white American culture for many decades. Then you see these movies where there's like Shaolin or the Wu-Tang or whoever seeking to overcome the evil overlords.

Normally movies are about the individual rising to defeat the superior force that is suppressing him or her.  I think that is something that resonated really loudly particularly as these were in the movies predominantly people of color, Chinese people or some cases you have Japanese or Korean or Thai movies now as well.  So you get that same feeling of here's somebody who is extraordinarily effective as an individual: mentally, spiritually, physically, and yet is not a white person.  I think that's part of the appeal.  I think what's great about it is the fact that what I see from a distance is that a lot of the things that I grew up with in terms of parental values and society having some kind of structure are missing now.  So I think if people, particularly in America, if it's young black people are looking to these films and going "okay, here's a movie".

If slasher movies were doing this it would be something to worry about, the thing is these are martial art movies and they're about people with codes of value, discipline, the bond of brotherhood.  If there's any chance that people can actually bring that into their own lives, then I think it's enormously positive and a force for good.  You mentioned The RZA, of course, who is somebody I know in passing from my work with the  Wienstiens and who I have regard for. (He) certainly seems to be somebody that has taken a lot of that culture and ethos into his own life and done incredibly well with it and done a lot of fantastic work so that's a good example.

Scott Tre:  The detractors of Hong Kong cinema seem to have a problem with the lack of realism.  Hong Kong films often forgo realism for the sake of entertainment.  Do you think that American audiences are too focused on realism?

Bey Logan: I think that the biggest problem is that there is a huge volume of Hong Kong and Asian cinema, even though there is like as you said these generic phrases like "heroic bloodshed" or "chopsocky" or "kung-fu movies", there's actually within those genres a huge range of films and a huge range of work that's been done.  First of all finding the films might be a challenge if your not a fan.  Let's say yo go in somewhere and you see a great selection of these movies and your just basically taking pot luck on one that you think is good.

There are films that are very accessible.  I'll give you an example.  I think very few people, if they saw IP Man in a theater or on DVD would go "Oh this is a movie I don't relate to" because there's so much great stuff going on in that movie.  However there are other films which I probably should not name but those are movies that you might buy or you might watch, where I can see an American person going "I don't know what that's about.  I don't relate to that at all.  Hong Kong films suck".  It's like the old story about the blind man and the elephant.  It's like, yeah you saw one movie and you didn't get it because people jumping up into trees and the acting is bad and the dubbing is bad and it was a bad print and you had a a bad experience and you're like: "I'll go back to watching the new Bruce Willis movie instead."  Or, watch an American film that appropriates a lot of Hong Kong style action but it's in English.  I can see why somebody would make that choice.

So I think to date the American audience for Hong Kong films is deep rather than wide in that there is a very committed audience who supports Dragon Dynasty and the other labels.  There's a lot of people who will never watch that kind of movie.  Now I'm with Dragon Dynasty at phase two, I think part of my challenge remains to try to get the movies out to a broader cross section of the population.  I hope people, when they see the Dragon Dynasty brand might go: "Okay, well that solves that problem," because they are gonna go "Well this is a movie that is accessible." The prime motivation when I joined the company and started working with Harvey on the line was how to make the films accessible.  You may remember in the early days we actually had RZA on some of the DVD's, and Elvis Mitchell.  All of it becomes really expensive to do, and we found that there was a sweet spot between how much you could spend on a movie and what you'd get back from the American market.

The Ironic thing is, England, which enjoys a lot of the same pop culture that America does is an absolute fantastic market for Hong Kong and Asian cinema.  You've got the films in the theaters, they do fantastically on DVD more so than in America.  Interestingly, England is like a very different market than America in that regard.  Plus in America everybody's spoiled for choice.  You've got so much material.  You've got your theatrical Hollywood films, you've got your B-movies that go straight to video, you've got Tele-features, you've got some terrific television series and kind of just at the fringe of that you've got all these predominantly Chinese language Hong Kong action films.  So I can see why people in America are either going to be into it, or they're never going to see a Hong Kong movie at all.  One of my missions in life is to put a Dragon Dynasty or a Hong Kong action film into more American homes than have ever been done before.  So that's the ongoing mission.

Scott Tre: Since the death of Bruce Lee, Hong Kong films have developed along a certain trajectory.  If Bruce Lee had lived, would that trajectory have been a bit different?

Bey Logan: I think the only thing different is that would have been more determined efforts to copy what Bruce Lee was doing.  Not like we had after he died with all the Bruce lookalikes.  Bruce Lo, Bruce Li and all the guys who impersonated Bruce Lee in movies.  There would have been people looking at the success of his movies and saying we'll do the same kind of thing because Hong Kong cinemas always like that.  That kind of got derailed a bit because when he died they were like "well it doesn't matter, we'll just put these other guys in".  They weren't really accepted in Hong Kong but just in America, in the west people were like, I guess a lot of people actually thought it might be Bruce Lee because they didn't have that much information.  So you have that whole thing happening, so that happened anyway.

Had he lived you would have had more attempts to impersonate or copy the kind of films he was doing.  For some reason, after he died, people pretty much went back to making the films they were doing before.  Shaw Brothers kept on doing swordplay dramas and period kung-fu stuff and Golden Harvest was doing the kind of Golden Harvest movies that they'd have been doing otherwise.  There were not really any films that you could say "well, that's like a Bruce Lee movie".  The next big trend was not serious martial art movies with this lone invincible hero, which is what Bruce Lee was, but it was comedy Kung-Fu.  So it went in a different direction.  I think had he lived, you would have had more focus on serious martial art films and they would have been trying to find a new Bruce Lee but in that context.  A new Bruce Lee who was an invincible martial arts hero, but he was impersonating Bruce Lee without the bangs and the yellow tracksuit.  So I think had he lived that would have happened and when he died it was like there was some kind of, probably some brief attempts to copy what he was doing and everybody went "No, don't like him.  He's not the new Bruce Lee".

Everything that happens in Hong Kong is a reaction to what went before.  Bruce Lee was a reaction to those kind of Jimmy Wang Yu swinging arm kind of movies where two guys would swing their arms at each other for like fifteen minutes and then one would fall down at the end.  So Bruce Lee was like "We're not going to do that.  I'm going to do my movie.  Bam, Bam, Bam!  Two moves and the guy falls down it's gonna be crisp, sharp".  After Bruce Lee everybody was like "Well, No one could fight like him so heck, we'll do (eventually) Kung-Fu comedy which was the next big thing.  Bruce died in '73.  In '76 or whatever it was, you have Jackie (Chan) and everybody coming out and doing Kung-Fu comedy.  So there was like a changing of the guard and it was a reaction to Bruce Lee more than an impersonation of him.

I definitely think had Bruce Lee lived there would have been more successful east/west co-productions earlier, because that was the direction that he was going.  He would have been a great conduit between east and west.  He always thought of himself as an American and he wanted to work with Hollywood.  I think Hong Kong to him was a stepping stone to go back to Hollywood and being bigger than Steve Mcqueen.  So I think he would have been flying Steve Mcqueen in to do a movie in Hong Kong.  People like that would have been working with Bruce Lee and there would have been like a knock on effect of like other actors and other producers doing something similar.  So it's interesting to conjecture, but we'll never know.

Scott Tre: What's the state of Hong Kong cinema right now and do you think it will ever be able to get back to its former glory?

Bey Logan: I think Hong Kong cinema now is a misnomer.  For many, many years, we only had Hong Kong cinema because the China market was completely closed and unavailable both as a distribution market and for a long time as a venue where you could shoot films.  So amazingly this tiny territory (Hong Kong) thrived economically and had this thriving film industry which was Hong Kong cinema.  They would shoot on location in Korea and Taiwan when there was no space here, or Thailand and other countries.  But those were predominately Hong Kong films shot by Hong Kong people in Cantonese for the Hong Kong/Southeast Asian market.  What's happened very evidently in the 10-20 years that I've been actively involved in the industry is China's opened up hugely.  So now you have Chinese film industry, but one driven largely, creatively by Hong Kong trained talent.  So my feeling is that Hong Kong itself as a film making center cannot be as it was in the 80's because it doesn't need to be what it was in the 80's.  Now you have the China market which I think is 1.3 billion people to support films and you have filmmakers working very effectively north of the border and shooting films in Shanghai and in Beijing and in other studios in China.  So there's Hong Kong people like Tsui Hark, like Donnie Yen, like Peter Chan  making their movies in China for the Asian market and for the world market beyond.

So I think yes, Hong Kong cinema changed and it changed forever.  But the influence of Hong Kong cinema graduates, the directors and the actors, you look at China market and it's hard to find.  It's disproportionate, hugely disproportionate.  If you know what the population of China is and you note the fact that they're on their fifth generation of directors now, there's only really three or for national class or world class directors where you might look at their movie and go "Wow!", this is somebody that you'd really think is doing great work.  There would be many, many China movies every year that nobody wants to see including the Chinese.  Then you get the movies that are produced and directed and action directed by Hong Kong people and those are the ones that work.  Even the movies of mainland Chinese directors that play internationally tend to be films where Yen Woo Ping is doing the action sequences, and if you take the action sequences away those movies don't work internationally.  So I think Hong Kong cinema's influence is incredibly pervasive in Chinese cinema and that will continue going forward.

Scott Tre: In the mid to late 1990's there was an influx of Hong Kong talent into Hollywood.  Jackie Chan and John Woo started making American films.  None of their efforts in America really panned out the way they or their fans would have hoped.  A lot of reasons have brought up such as language and cultural barriers.  Why do you think that the Hong Kong invasion didn't work out the way it should have?

Bey Logan: When you look at the population of the world  ethnically and culturally, you look at Hollywood.  Hollywood still falls far short of being representative.  I mean look at American television.  How many people are of ethnic minorities, if you can call them that.  They're not.  They are actually the ethnic majority if you look at the world.  How many American ethnic minorities have leading roles on those shows.  How many roles are there for Black people? Black Women?  How many for Hispanics?  How many for Asians?  A tiny proportion.  Basically white Americans who are kind of representing their culture, and the same things true of the cinema.  You get this kind of fascination by the mainstream American market with certain performers and certain directors.  Now on the part of Hollywood, they have very little idea of how to use that talent effectively.  It's been a shame that their hasn't been a better use of these incredible resources.  That's been the shame of Hollywood that they haven't been able to use the talent better.  I mean, it's great that they did make the effort and brought people over and tried to put them in films, but generally they haven't worked.  What's been good about it, I think these film makers have learned a lot, because there are good things about the Hollywood system, and have brought and introduced them here (Hong Kong).

I don't think John Woo could have done Red Cliff without the Hollywood experience.  Red Cliff is significantly bigger and more epic film than anything he did prior to going to America.  So I definitely think there's been an upside to it, but in terms of America making use of Chinese actors and Chinese directors they really haven't done it effectively and I don't know that America effectively represents diversity.  Hollywood still does not effectively represent diversity.  It propagates certain very specific, generally very conservative white American values internationally and I don't know how that would change.  That's really a question for Hollywood.  The other big problem the actors had was, I guess because of a perceived language barrier, A-list directors didn't want to work with those talents.  So you ended up with a lot of first time directors and you had people who were journeyman directors but you didn't get the Micheal Manns and the Ridley Scotts.  The visionary directors that you'd really like to see working with Hong Kong talent, Chinese talent doing so.  The only one who was an international quality director who had made a name in Hollywood would be Ang Lee.  He did Crouching Tiger and that did pretty good, right? (laughs)  Generally the A-list American Directors shied away from working with those people, with the influx.  That's to their shame and that's a loss to the industry.

Scott Tre: The Shaw Brothers films that were made in the late 1970's, from what I understand, aren't held in as high esteem as the ones from earlier periods.  Many of those late seventies offerings made a big impact in the states.  What is your take on that?

Bey Logan: There was a changing of the guard.  I think in the seventies the focus of Shaw Brothers moved away from purely being a film-making and distribution and it became more involved with television and it became more involved with property and other ventures.  Run Run Shaw ceased to be as hands on as he had been and handed over the running of the studio to other people and I think when that happens you get a changing of the house style.  I think prior to that, when I look back, I've got a huge collection of all the Shaw Brothers movies that have been brought out.  You look at the earlier films and the bar was set in terms of story structure, production values all the attributes to make a great movie.  I used to watch very obscure movies and I'd go "My God, this is a great movie", like The Bells of Death or The Fast Sword.  You look at some of those really obscure swordplay movies that no one has really seen and you'd just go "This is really an amazing piece", but at that time it was just another Shaw Brothers release and It wasn't necessarily that hugely well received here but you look at it now and go "My God that was a great movie."

There was a changing and I think one thing that happened was that you had a generation of actors that came into Shaw Brothers who were perceived as being stunt men more than they were leading men, than they were movie stars.  That was the Venoms guys.  They never really were accepted by the Hong Kong audience and that was quite a shame because if they had been, it would have given budgets and more momentum to that later era.  Also there was a lot of challenges from Golden Harvest and Seasonal Films and Cinema City and I think Shaw Brothers became reactive rather than proactive.  Where they kind of lead the fray in the sixties, in the early seventies they kind of started reacting and trying to do the films that they thought people wanted to see.  I thought these were all the elements that made the seventies experience of Shaw Brothers so different to what you had seen earlier.

Scott Tre: That's very shocking to me, because among the Shaw Brothers fans that I know here in the States, all you hear about are the Venoms films and the stuff that Lau Kar Lueng and Chang Che did during the seventies.

Bey Logan: Those movies to me, as a cineaste, if you break them down they are almost like a Cirque Du Soleil show.  You have quite a basic story structure, or in some cases a relatively incoherent story structure within which you have these amazing displays of martial artistry and those guys were incredible.  They just were.  Each one of them could do what Jackie Chan could do.  But something was missing to me in terms of having the storytelling and the production values be at the standard that they were previously and I just saw there was a short fall between what was going on there and what was going on at Golden Harvest at that time.  I think it predominantly came down to a shift in focus of the studio.  So I think for me, I like it when all the elements come together.

I think with the Venoms movies, to me, the element that comes together is this incredible physicality of the performers.  So you really appreciate it more like a Cirque Du Soleil show than as a movie.  So it's basically kind of stuntmen doing their own stunts, like Howard Stern said about Jackie Chan like "Yeah he does his own stunts, he's a stuntman doing his own stunts" and that was the Venoms guys.  They looked very similar to me, the Taiwanese guys that came and were the stars of the movies.  So I can see why in America they really caught on because they were so over the top and those scenes where so amazing.  I think it's great when you say "Kung-Fu" or "Hong Kong cinema", within that there is a huge range and I'm a Kung-Fu movie fan.  My preference is those late era Shaw Brothers movies and I might say to you "Well I'm a Kung-Fu fan and I like the early seventies Golden Harvest films."  Somebody else might say "I'm a Kung-Fu movie fan and I like Wang Yu movies from the 1960's", like the One Armed Swordsman films."  There's kind of something for everybody.  So I think that's actually good that we have a single genre that has such a broad range of different experiences within it.

Scott Tre: What is your favorite action sequence, both gun play and fight scene, from any Hong Kong film?

Bey Logan: I can answer those.  I've been asked before so I've had time to think about it.  It's always a bit challenging with those ones.  I would say for me just pulling out a scene for the martial arts that really blew me away.  This was a movie where I think it's definitely a masterpiece of the genre, which is Sammo Hung's film Prodigal Son.  Also a movie that I was on the set of when I was like 19 or whatever it was, so I've got a nostalgic feel for the film to.  So I remember seeing the movie in a theater in England seeing the fight on the boat between Frankie Chan and Lam Ching Ying and going "How they do that is just so amazing."  That was a sequence that I look at today.  Sammo is a fantastic director and even though those two guys who are doing the fight are not the most well known martial arts stars in the world, that film I think is a masterpiece and must be one of my favorite movies still of any kind of film.  That fight sequence is one that always has a special place.  People always ask so I cite that one for those reasons.

For the gun play I still think A Better Tomorrow when Chow Yun Fat goes into the tea house and blows everybody away with the two guns.  That's a great scene, when he hides the guns in the pots and everything.  I remember being in a hotel room in Taiwan.  I was doing movie there and we were watching movies every night.  Other people would have been out having fun.  What a bunch of geeks were we.  So I had a TV and a video player and we'd go to a local store and I remember it being really cool, but we kind of ran out of Kung-Fu movies to watch, that shows you how many we were watching.  Someone said "Oh this is pretty good" they've got this guy called Chow Yun Fat you'd never herd of and John Woo you'd never heard of and it was about guys with guns which we all knew guns could never look as exciting as Kung-Fu.  Then your watching the movie and as you remember it starts off as a relatively conventional thriller, but one that's very well done.  Yes, the characters and the relationships are immediately very engaging and then you get that scene and your like "What did I just see?! My God!"  Never seen anything like that, never seen the gun look as exciting as the sword.  That's what John Woo did with that.

My first choice, the Kung Fu one might be a little bit more obscure and the gun play one is your favorite and a lot of people's.  To me, actually I really respect and admire The Killer and Hard Boiled and I know that those are probably the more successful John Woo films internationally.  I think A Better Tomorrow is not just a groundbreaking movie but overall as a piece of storytelling, as a human story, is a better film.  I definitely respond to that film more than I do the other ones.

Scott Tre: I totally agree.  I've had arguments with a lot of my American movie buff friends who swear by The Killer and Hard Boiled.  As much as I love those, there is something about A Better Tomorrow.

Bey Logan: There's more action scenes in those and the characters are larger than life.  I have to tread carefully because what the hell do I know?  But I would think that somebody coming into those movies, the gun play films, from the challenges of the African American experiences in America which has been relatively well documented and which I am aware of.  The idea of that movie which is basically about the fight for the soul of this young policeman between his brother and the gangs and whatever going to happen.  That great line when the girlfriend the Leslie Cheung character really wants him to reconcile himself with the Ti Lung character and Leslie Cheung says: "He's a crook and I'm a cop.  We're walking different roads." There must be so many families, particularly minority families in America where that same sad situation has happened where you look at somebody and you go: "I'm a law abiding person and they're a criminal and we're walking different roads" and having to come to terms with that when it's your own blood relative.  Or it's not you, you knew knew somebody where that had happened.  It's completely divorced from my own relationship, my own life experience.  Never had anything like that, but I can definitely see where within the ethnic minorities and the African American community, those films would have a resonance.  I think that's great.  I think it's very healthy in terms of looking ahead to see this kind of different cross pollination of cultures that you can have a story told by a Chinese person in Cantonese that is enormously influential in a completely different community, which would be primarily the English speaking African American community in America.  I think that's really good and it shows the way forward which is cultures working together in a positive way.

Scott Tre: In closing is there anything you'd like to say?

Bey Logan: I feel enormously grateful and privileged to have a chance to live out so many of my dreams by living and working in Hong Kong for the years I have that whatever my shortcomings are in terms of being a distributor and aficionado and being a filmaker, my motivation has always been to share my love for Asian culture and Asian cinema with as many people in the rest of the world as I could.  So I ask for peoples patience.  Unfortunately the internet now has become this thing where you just read about yourself and you think you must be Joseph Stalin or somebody when you see the comments being made.  I would just like them to be aware of the fact that my motivation is to bring the best from Asia to the west by whatever means necessary and sometimes we are gonna succeed and sometimes we are going to fall short but please bear with us.  I've made myself very accessible as you obviously are aware so that people can come and make comments to me and I can learn and I continue to do productive work.  I am very grateful to the fan base.  There's a huge following in the west and I've made many good friends through my involvement with the genre, my involvement with Hong Kong and Asian cinema.  That's been very rewarding.  I want to say I/we are doing our best and I'm genuinely thankful and grateful for the generally positive response we get and from the enthusiasm and energy of the audience which is really gratifying.

Check out Bey Logan's blog over at Dragon Dynasty's official site by Clicking here.

A very special thanks to John Cooley, as always!

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