Tsui Hark

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Tsui Hark (born 15 February 1950), born Tsui Man-kong, is a New Wave film director in Hong Kong and an influential film producer. He is viewed as a major figure in the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema (typically early 1980s to mid 1990s).


Early life

Tsui was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, in a large Chinese immigrant family with sixteen siblings. By the age of 13, he and his family immigrated to Hong Kong. Tsui showed an early interest in show business and films; when he was 10, he and some friends rented an 8 mm camera to film a magic show they put on at school. He also drew comic books, an interest that would influence his cinematic style.

Tsui started his secondary education in Hong Kong in 1966. He proceeded to study film in Texas, first at Southern Methodist University and then at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating in 1975. He claims to have told his parents he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps as a pharmacist, and that it was here he changed his given name to Hark ("overcoming").

After graduation, Tsui moved to New York City, where he worked on From Spikes to Spindles (1976), a noted documentary film by Christine Choy on the history of the city's Chinatown. He also worked as an editor for a Chinese newspaper, developed a community theatre group and worked in a Chinese cable TV station. He returned to Hong Kong in 1977.


New Wave period

Upon turning to feature filmmaking, Tsui was quickly typed as a member of the "New Wave" of young, iconoclastic directors. His debut film, The Butterfly Murders (1979), was an eccentric and technically challenging blend of wuxia, murder mystery and science fiction / fantasy elements. His second film, We're Going to Eat You (1980), was an eccentric blend of cannibal horror, black comedy and martial arts.

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