Director Wu Jing talks to Beijing Review’s Li Nan about his blockbuster film Wolf Warrior II and answers critics. This is an edited version of the interview:
What should be the future direction of Chinese kungfu movies? Has a new action movie era arrived?
Wu Jing: Military-themed films are a new option, combining kungfu and action. At least they are proven to be feasible at the moment. But can kungfu and action movies thrive through military-themed films? I don’t know. I am responsible for my films and my audience, not for an entire film genre. But I would like to try.
Every martial artist wants to usher in his or her own action era. For me, my life has just begun.
What should Chinese filmmakers do to go global?
Mr. Lu Xun (renowned Chinese writer, 1881-1936) said what is unique to China may wow the rest of the world as well. What do we need? We need to be faithful to our original aspiration and figure out a way to project our indigenous culture onto the international screen.
When will Chinese films win an international audience?
It depends on whether we exert our utmost efforts or not. China’s movie market is promising. The old-generation performers’ tradition of going through real-life experiences before shooting should be carried on. Young actors and actresses should be educated to be able to tell the right professional ethics from the wrong ones. Then we should foster the craftsmanship spirit among moviemakers and actors for creating high-quality films. If all this is achieved, I think Chinese films will soon win international audiences.
Would you like to act in a Hollywood film?
I haven’t got an invitation from Hollywood yet. I think action films, or military-themed films, are universally patriotic and uphold peace. What does it matter where you make such a film since it is borderless? However, to improve our homemade productions, I want to study shooting technologies in Hollywood and learn filmmaking and logistics in Hong Kong.
BBC News called Wolf Warrior II a “nationalist movie.” How do you feel about that?
Wu Jing: My English is poor. I don’t know how to accurately translate that word. All nations are implementing a national patriotic education. Wolf Warrior II promotes patriotism. What’s wrong with that? Is there a rule that says only Hollywood or Bollywood can promote patriotism and not Chinese films? Maybe the Western media would be happy if China were like what it was in 1840, with a large opium-smoking population and defeated in the First Opium War.
Different people may comment differently on a film. I accept artistic criticism but please do not criticize me for being patriotic. It is never illegitimate to love you own country. I am Chinese.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar