BUSAN -- Chinese actress Tang Wei, in her visit to the 19th annual Busan International Film Festival, shared her thoughts and experiences on her role as Chinese literary icon, Xiao Hong, in director Ann Hui’s latest film, “The Golden Era.”
The Chinese – Hong Kong film is a biopic of legendary Chinese writer Xiao (real name Zhang Naiying), who lived through a period of political turmoil in modern Chinese history from 1911 to 1942. Though the writer died at the young age of 32, she had published many short stories and essays including, “The Bridge” in 1933 and “Tales of Hulan River” in 1944.
“I realized I share many similarities with Xiao Hong,” said the actress during the press conference on Friday in Busan. “I am a very direct and straightforward person. Also, I did a lot of things that I wanted to do (growing up).”
Tang said that like Xiao, she was also influenced by her painter father and her grandfather but added that she was, “very fortunate to be born in a very peaceful period (unlike Xiao).”
The actress was joined at the press conference by director Hui and Kim Ji-seok, executive programmer of the festival who selected the film to be screened under the “Gala Presentation” section, which are new films or masterpieces by renowned directors.
The 178-minute film closed the recent edition of Venice Film Festival in September and is also representing Hong Kong at the upcoming Oscar’s race in the category of best foreign language film.
“I didn’t have much pressure making a film about Xiao Hong,” said the director. “Every director makes films with different perspectives. First of all, I did want to capture her as a writer, but more so, the film focuses on her life as a person from beginning to end.”
The film also sheds light on her love life, said Hui, who based the film on Xiao’s personal writings and her letters to friends.
“I also wanted to give the audience a chance to view Xiao Hong from different perspectives, by having her friends share their experiences with the writer and express their personal feelings, in an interview-like manner.”
The director added that she specifically chose Tang for the role because of her style of acting and great facial expressions.
Tang, in her first public appearance in Korea after she tied the knot with Korean director Kim Tae-yong in August, says she is very grateful with her life and lucky to be an actress.
“Movies are my dream, my religion,” says the actress. “I can say this is my ‘golden era’ with being able to express myself through films and have a chance to play Xiao Hong.”
This year’s BIFF runs from Oct. 2-11. For more information, visit www.biff.kr
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org