Kevin Chu

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Chu Yen-Ping
Chinese name 朱延平
Pinyin Zhū Yánpíng (Mandarin)
Origin Republic of China (Taiwan)
Born December 1950
Taiwan
Occupation Film director

Kevin Chu Yen-ping (Chinese: 朱延平; pinyin: Zhū Yánpíng; Wade–Giles: Chu Yen-ping; born December 1950) is a Taiwanese film director. Chu once said in an interview that he is "not an artist," but rather "a movie factory that puts out products to match the season", and is compared to Hong Kong director Wong Jing.[1]

Career[edit]

Chu studied in Soochow University, and began to work in a studio of Central Motion Picture Company next to the school.

In 1980 Chu directed his first film, The Clown. The film is a successful comedy, which boosted the career of Taiwanese comedian Hsu Pu-liao, and began a series of successful and formulaic collaboration between Chu and Hsu. Hsu became known as "Taiwanese Chaplin", and Chu's The Funny Couple in 1984 with Hsu and child talent "Little Bing-bing" pays heavy homage to Chaplin's City Lights. Though the collaboration was a big success, Hsu and Little Bing-bing suffered from exploitation and Hsu died in 1985 due to stress and alcoholism. Chu met difficulties until he established his own company and came back in 1987 with Bighead Brigade (also known as Naughty Cadets on Patrol in Hong Kong), a farce-comedy series about military drill. Chu also began another series, The Kung-fu Kids, featuring child talents Yen Cheng-kuo, Tsuo Hsiao-hu and Chen Tsung-jung. Both series were successful until the formula got worn out. In 1985 Chu also made Seven Foxes starring Taiwanese pop singers Dave Wong, Tom Chang, and Samuel Tai, and actress Yip Chuen Chun. The film was shot when these young Taiwanese talents became famous in Hong Kong.

In 1990 Chu directed A Home Too Far and its sequel in 1993, based on Bo Yang's novel about the Chinese troop taking refuge in Santikhiri (near Golden Triangle). The two films were a commercial success and were nominated for Golden Horse Award. The controversial issues it featured stirred wide discussion. Chu considered this to be his best film.

Throughout the 1990s Chu made a variety of films ranging from physical comedy, action, wuxia (swordsman), drama to erotic films. Slapsticks and body part jokes were staple. Collaboration with Cantonese speaking talents was common and their lines were dubbed with Madarin. Most notably, Chu worked with the child talents Hao Shao-wen and Shaolin-trained Shi Xiaolong (Ashton Chen) in many comedy-kungfu-flicks. Chu's Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple in 1994 starring the two was a local success in the face of strong competition from Hong Kong and Hollywood, and Chu was considered as an alternative to art films of "Taiwanese New Wave".[2]

In the 2000s Chu again met difficulties in Taiwanese market, with two of his film breaking the record of lowest ticket sale (less than twenty tickets sold in Taipei City). Some of his films earned well in China. In 2009 Chu ambitiously made The Treasure Hunter, an action film shot on location in Gobi Desert, starring Jay Chou and Lin Chi-ling. The film was screened in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong but met serious box office failure.

Selected Filmography[edit]

(Some films have different English and Chinese titles in Hong Kong.)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Teng Sue-feng. tr. by Brent Heinrich (1996), "King of the Pop Flick--Film Director Chu Yen-ping", Taiwan Panorama 
  2. ^ a b c There seems to be some confusion about the English titles in this series. The 1994 film is known to Taiwanese as 新烏龍院 (Xīn Wūlóngyuàn in pinyin), and Teng and Heinrich's report (1996) gives the 1994 film an English title, Super Mischievous. Yet according to IMDB, Super Mischievous is the English title of the sequel in 1995. Also according to IMDB, in 1994 Chu made two films featuring Hao Shao-wen and Shi Xiaolong:
    • The first is 笑林小子 (Xiàolín Xiǎozi, while IMDB's "original title" is Shao Lin xiao zi) whose "International (English title)" is "Shaolin Popey".
    • The second is the sequel of the first, called 笑林小子2新烏龍院 (Xiàolín Xiǎozi 2 Xīn Wūlóngyuàn, while IMDB's "original title" is Shao Lin xiao zi II: Xin wu long yuan), and the "International (English title)" is "Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple". The film seems to have another Chinese title in Hong Kong and in China, called 無敵反斗星 (Simplified Chinese: 无敌反斗星, Wúdí Fǎndǒxīng).
    It should be also noted that most romanization of the Chinese title follows Pinyin, which is based on Standard Madarin and neglects the Cantonese pronunciation.

Reference and Further Reading[edit]

External links[edit]