Leslie Cheung Tribute
On April 1, 2003, the world lost one of its great movie stars; but virtually the entire Asian diaspora knows that we also lost one of our most exquisite pop singers, most seductive sex symbols, most potent gay icons and most beloved celebrities, for Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing was (impossibly) all of these. While millions of eastern-hemisphere listeners were entranced by his angelic voice and provocative musical performances, here in the west Leslie was known as the gorgeous, charismatic star of the gay-themed arthouse classics Farewell, My Concubine and Happy Together. What may not be so well-known in English-speaking territories is that Leslie was a tremendously gifted actor whose range encompassed both gay and straight, drama and comedy, romance and action.
For this tribute, we wanted to celebrate and share as many of Leslie Cheung's unique gifts as possible, and so we've assembled a program that will show Leslie the actor, Leslie the singer, and (via tributes from many of his contemporaries) Leslie the Person. The six films selected—one period fantasy, three comedies, and two contemporary dramas—comprise a period in Hong Kong cinema that extends from 1993 (Bride With White Hair) to 2002 (Inner Senses), thus illuminating not just Leslie's astonishing ability to give a brilliant performance in any genre, but also offering up a small capsule history of a decade of Hong Kong film, for Leslie was the region's most enduring celestial figure. Whether playing a gay lover adrift in Argentina, a comically-desperate filmmaker, a millionaire songwriter with some gender confusion issues, a naive but adoring young lover of a ghost, or a mature yet vulnerable psychiatrist, Leslie's seeming effortlessness and sheer radiance always delight.
As a singer, Leslie was "Gor Gor" or "older brother" whose star appeal began with a 1976 television performance of "American Pie" and continued unabated up through 2000, when Leslie came out onstage, acknowledging his twenty-year relationship with his partner Daffy Tong. In a society often thought to be homophobic, Leslie's status, if anything, only increased, proof of not just his talent but also his personal grace. Leslie the Person was adored by friends and fans alike, and his death left a cosmic void in the Hong Kong entertainment community.
But our intent with this tribute is to dwell on Leslie's life, not his death, and to share some of his remarkable achievements with an audience that may be new to "the Legend." As his friend and frequent collaborator Tsui Hark said in memorium: "…all I can do right now is to reminisce, cherish, and treasure everything you've left behind." We couldn't have put it better, except perhaps to add-thank you, Gor Gor.
LESLIE CHEUNG 张国荣致敬影展
作为一个歌者，LESLIE被尊为“哥哥”，他的星途从1976年电视比赛中一曲《AMERICAN PIE》开始，一直延续到2000年仍未褪色，尽管他在舞台上公开承认了他与DAFFY TONG二十年的伴侣关系。在一个对同性恋大有看法的社会，LESLIE的声名地位一直是只升不降，这不仅仅是由于他的才华，也是由于他的人格魅力。LESLIE的为人品性始终得到他的朋友们和FANS的尊重和喜爱，他的离世在香港演艺界留下了一个无法弥补的空白。
Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing was born in Hong Kong on September 12, 1956; the youngest of ten children, his father was a successful tailor—and a largely unsuccessful father, as Leslie later recalled being a lonely and emotionally-neglected child. After receiving his education in both Hong Kong and Britain, Leslie went on to major in Textiles at Leeds University, but was called back to Hong Kong only a year later when his father became ill. Although his father hoped the young Leslie would take over the family business, Leslie's destiny was changed forever when his performance of Don McLean's "American Pie" earned him second place in the 1977 RTV Asian Song Contest. A year later the photogenic Leslie starred in his first movie—Erotic Dream of Red Chamber—and for the next four years he honed his acting skills in RTV television series.
He returned to the big screen in 1982, appearing in films for both the venerable Shaw Brothers and Hong Kong's "New Wave" filmmakers; his performance in Patrick Tam's Nomad as a drifting, uncertain young man earned him his first of eight nominations for Best Actor in the Hong Kong Film Awards. After releasing four CD's, his 1984 song "Monica" (from the CD of the same name) won nearly every major Hong Kong music award, and his 1985 series of concerts established him as Asia's biggest pop star.
Leslie followed that success with his performance in 1986's A Better Tomorrow (directed by John Woo and produced by Tsui Hark), which not only became Hong Kong's biggest film of the year, but also marked the Hong Kong film industry's emergence into global cinema. A year later Leslie received his second Best Actor nomination for A Better Tomorrow 2, and also starred for producer Tsui Hark in A Chinese Ghost Story, which became a worldwide hit. After again winning all of the major music awards in 1987 for his song "No Mood to Sleep", Leslie starred in Stanley Kwan's 1988 arthouse hit Rouge, and also became the first Asian star signed to represent Pepsi Cola.
In 1989, Leslie was voted number one in Commercial Radio's "Top Ten Most Beautiful People in Hong Kong," and he shocked his fans when he revealed that he wanted to retire from music to concentrate on acting. His decision seemed to pay off, since in 1990 he won Best Actor for his performance as the sensual womanizer Yuddy in Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild, and in 1993 he starred in Chen Kaige's universally-acclaimed Farewell My Concubine, which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film and set a new standard for gay-themed films. As if to boldly demonstrate his diversity, that same year Leslie played a swaggering swordsman and lover to Brigitte Lin's title character in Ronny Yu's exquisite period fantasy The Bride With White Hair, and received a Hong Kong Film Awards Best Original Song nomination for "Hung Ngaan Baak Faat" ("Red Face White Hair"), which he not only performed but also wrote the music for. In 1994 Leslie was named Best Actor by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, for his performances in Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time, as well as He's a Woman, She's a Man, It's a Wonderful Life and Long and Winding Road. 1995 and ‘96 saw Leslie give two of his funniest performances, first in Tsui Hark's The Chinese Feast and then in Derek Yee's Viva Erotica; 1995 also saw Leslie's return to music, as he released four CD's that year alone. As Hong Kong was being handed over from Britain to China in 1997, Leslie played a petulant gay lover adrift in Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together, garnering Best Actor nominations from both the Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, and in 2000 he cemented his status as Hong Kong's preeminent gay icon when he dedicated a song during one of his concerts to his longtime partner Daffy Tong.
As the Hong Kong film industry experienced a slump in the early 2000's, Leslie seemed to focus more on music, although his performances as a gun-obsessed psychotic in Double Tap and a troubled psychiatrist in Inner Senses garnered him more Best Actor nominations. On April 1, 2003, Leslie shocked his legions of fans by leaping from a 24th-floor balcony of a luxury hotel in downtown Hong Kong, leaving only a note that cited "depression." His funeral services were attended by roughly 10,000 fans, and his passing was mourned by virtually every member of Hong Kong's entertainment community (where he was known simply as "Gor Gor," or older brother). As director Chen Kaige wrote in memorium, "Leslie was a rare flower in Hong Kong's entertainment world, which only blossoms once in a century."
张国荣（Leslie Cheung）于1956年9月12日生于香港，是家里十个孩子中最小的一个。他的父亲是一个成功的制衣商，却是一个极不成功的父亲，以至于Leslie日后回忆自己是一个孤独寂寞，情感上被忽视的孩子。Leslie先后在香港和英国接受了教育，并且考入英国里兹大学修读纺织专业，但是一年后因为父亲病重被召回香港。虽然父亲期望年轻的Leslie继承家族生意，但是在1977年丽的电视台举行的亚洲歌唱大赛上，Leslie以一曲Don Mclean的《American Pie》夺得亚军，从此改变了一生命运。一年后，形象出众的Leslie出演了他的第一部电影《红楼春上春》，随后四年里在丽的电视台的电视剧集里磨练了他的演技。