70 Directors for Venice 70
Born in 1947 in Hunan, China, and raised in Taiwan, Yonfan moved in 1965 to Hong Kong where he has lived ever since. At the end of the Seventies he travelled and studied in Europe and America. He first made his name as a fashion photographer (for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue) and continued to publish his own books of photographs taken in the wildest and most remote regions of China. His debut in film direction came in 1984, with A Certain Romance. He often directs films produced by his own company, Far Sun Films, working in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. His international breakthrough came with Mei shaonian zhi lian (Beauty), screened to great acclaim in Berlin in 1999. Yonfan writes, designs and is the executive producer of his own films. In 2003 he participated in the Venice Film Festival with his first documentary, Breaking the Willow, about the cultural heritage of kunqu, traditional Chinese opera. He returned to the Venice Film Festival, this time in Competition, in 2009 with the fiction feature-length film Lei Wangzi (Prince of Tears), set in Taiwan in the 1950’s, the story of two sisters who, upon their return from school, find their house ransacked by the military police and their parents arrested and accused of being Communist spies.
2003 – Breaking the Willow – Nuovi territori Special Screenings (subject, screenplay, director)
2009 – Lei Wangzi (Prince of Tears) – In Competition (screenplay, director)