Clara Law was born on May 29, 1957 in Macau. At the age of 10 she moved to Hong Kong. Law studied at the University of Hong Kong and graduated with a degree in English Literature. In 1978 she joined Radio Television Hong Kong as an assistant producer and director. During her time there she tried many aspects of television from screenwriting to directing. Between 1978 and 1981 she directed twelve drama programs for the television channel. In 1982 she began studying film direction and writing at the National Film and Television School in England. She won the Silver Plaque Award at the Chicago Film Festival in 1985 for her graduation film They Say the Moon is Fuller Here.
In 1985 she returned to Hong Kong and began development on her first long feature film The Other Half and the Other Half, which was released in 1988. Since her return to Hong Kong she has worked with Eddie Fong on all of her projects. In 1989 she created her second film The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus. The film was screened at the Toronto Film Festival and was released commercially in the US. A year later she created Farewell China. It won the Special Jury Award at the Torino Film Festival. She was also nominated for best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards for the film. She directed Fruit Punch (movie) in 1991, which was a commercial film produced by a large Hong Kong film studio. In 1992 she directed and produced Autumn Moon. The film was a hit in the film festival circuit. It won the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival in 1992, as well as the European Art Theatres Association Best Picture Award and the Youth Special Jury Award in Switzerland and the Best Screenplay in Valencia (1994). It was also awarded at the Belgium and Portugal film festivals. Autumn Moon was selected for official screenings at the New York Film Festival as well as in Sundance, Toronto, London, Rotterdam, Gothenburg, Thessaloniki, Nantes, San Francisco, Créteil, Dublin, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Jerusalem, New Delhi, Wellington, Midnight Sun Finland, Rio de Janeiro, Reykjavik, Ghent, Munich, Ankara, Sydney and Melbourne. In 1993 she released Temptation of a Monk. The film is an adaptation of a novella by Lillian Lee. The film was shot entirely on location in the north and northwestern part of China. The film was selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival in 1993. It won the Grand Prix at the Créteil International Film Festival in France (1994). The film was also selected for official screenings at the Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam and Brisbane film festivals, and as the closing film at the L.A. Film Festival. In 1994 law finished a segment of the movie Erotique called Wonton Soup. Later that year she and Eddie Fong moved to Australia.
She moved to Australia with Eddie Fong in 1994. The pair’s first film after their move to Australia is Floating Life, which was completed in 1996. It won the Silver Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival in 1996, and two other awards including Best Film, it was selected by Prix FICC and the "Ambiente salute: Qualita di vita" award. It also won the Best Film and Best Director Awards at the Gijon International Film Festival in Spain, and the Grand Prix at the Créteil International Film Festival in France. It was nominated for three awards at the Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Director and Best Screenplay, and it received nine nominations at the Golden Horse International Film Festival in Taiwan, including the awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Floating Life was also Australia's official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 69th Academy Awards (1997). The film was also screened at the Sydney, Melbourne, London, Rotterdam, Hof, Stockholm, Toronto and Hawaii film festivals. The Goddess of 1967, shot on location in the outback of Australia and Tokyo, was completed in 2000. It was in competition at the Venice film festival in 2000 where Rose Byrne won the Best Actress Award. What’s more, Clara Law was nominated for the Golden Lion in Venice. The film also pocketed the Best Director Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Best Director Award at the Teplice Art Film Festival in Slovakia and the FIPRESCI Critics' Award for Best Film at the Tromso Film Festival in Norway. The film was also selected for official screenings at the Toronto, London, Pusan, Hof, Vancouver, Hawaii, Taipei, Rotterdam, Jerusalem, Karlovy Vary and Oslo film festivals. She directed her first digital documentary in 2004 called Letters to Ali with Eddie Fong who co-produced, edited, and shot the film. The film was selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival and for official screenings at the Toronto, Pusan, Gothenburg and Melbourne film festivals. She completed Like a Dream (movie) in 2009. This film marked her return to Asia. The film was nominated in nine categories at the 2009 Golden Horse Awards. It also opened the 2010 Hong Kong International Film Festival. In 2010, Law made a short film, Red Earth, commissioned by the Hong Kong International Film Festival. The short was selected in the Horizon category at the 2010 Venice film festival.
- Red Earth – 2010 - Short
- Like a Dream – 2009
- Letters to Ali – 2004 - Documentary
- The Goddess of 1967 – 2000
- Floating Life – 1996
- Wonton Soup – 1994
- Temptation of a Monk – 1993
- Autumn Moon – 1992
- Fruit Punch – 1991
- Farewell China – 1990
- The Reincarnation of the Golden Lotus – 1989
- The Other Half and the Other Half – 1988
- Faces and Places – 1981
- Police Drama – 1980
- Below the Lion Rock – 1977
Awards and Nominations
They Say the Moon Is Fuller Here
- The Silver Plaque Award, Chicago Film Festival
- Best Director Nominee, Hong Kong Film Awards
- Special Jury Award, Torino Film Festival.
- Golden Leopard Winner, Locarno International Film Festival
- Best Picture Award, European Art Theatres Association.
Temptation of a Monk
- Best Director Nominee, Hong Kong Film Awards
- Grand Prix, Gréteil International Film Festival.
- Silver Leopard Winner, Locarno International Film Festival
- Best Director Nominee, AFI Award, Australian Film Institute
- Best Director and Grand Prix Asturias Winners, Gijón International Film Festival, Spain.
- Grand Prix Winner, Grétail International Women’s Film Festival, France.
The Goddess of 1967
- Silver Hugo Winner (Best Director), Chicago International Film Festival
- Golden Lion Nominee, Venice Film Festival.
- Golden Key Winner (Best Direction), Art Film Festival, Slovak Republic
- FIPRESCI Award Winner, TromsØ International Film Festival, Norway.
Like a Dream
- Nominated in nine categories, Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan
- Lee 2003
- Lee 2003, para. 2
- Podvin 2010, para. 2
- Lee 2003, para. 3
- Podvin 2010
- Podvin 2010
- Podvin, Thomas, Hong Kong Cinemagic, 2010.
- Lee, Dian, Senses of Cinema, 2003.
- Tong, Nancy, "From the Chinese Diaspora to a Global Dream: A Discussion With Filmmakers Clara Law and Eddie Fong", Hong Kong Cinemagic, 2010.
- Clara Law at the Internet Movie Database
- Complete biography on Hong Kong Cinemagic
- Interview with Clara Law on Hong Kong Cinemagic
- Biography on Senses of Cinema
- List of films on Film Reference