Director Philip Yung On Hong Kong’s Oscar Entry ‘Where The Wind Blows’: “It’s A Memory Of A Former Time” – Contenders International

Over the course of 144 minutes, Philip Yung’s true-crime drama Where the Wind Blows covers an awful lot of ground. An epic in the style Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in New York, it pairs Asian superstars Tony Leung and Aaron Kwok in a story spanning several decades of police corruption in Hong Kong during its time as a British colony. The detail is sometimes dense, but the tone turns playful and refreshingly light at times, and there’s even a memorable musical routine for “The God of Dance” Kwok.

Speaking at Deadline’s Contenders Film: International award-season event, Yung explained his reasons for wanting to make the film. “Hong Kong ended its colonial era in 1997,” he said, “so it’s been 25 years. Many changes have happened since then, and many people who lived during that time have gotten old or passed away. I wanted to leave behind a dream of that era: a memory about Hong Kong in a former time.”

RELATED: The Contenders International – Deadline’s Full Coverage

Yung said that he spent about six months researching the film, which centers on real-life police chiefs Lui Lok (AKA “The $500m Inspector”) and Nam Kong. “I interviewed policemen of that time as well as the descendants of those people,” Yung said. “I also read many books, about the police system and the history of organized crime.”

Were people happy to revisit such an inauspicious period of history? “People were willing to talk,” he said, “but not much of what they said sounded real, because, for one thing, it’s been years and also because some people had not actually experienced those things themselves. So there are many versions of the truth. But it’s very interesting because many of the people who recounted these stories are very old, and coming from them, it sounded like they were talking about a dream.”

Check back on Monday for the full video.

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