After being sidelined by the gymnastics team, Yu (Hins Cheung) quits and reinvents himself as a Latin dance instructor. He assembles a group of children to compete in the Latin dance competition. Can Yu, still facing his own insecurities, teach them to truly dance? Directed by Fruit Chan, Shining Moment had its world premiere at the 1st edition of the International Film Festival & Awards-Macao.
On what prompted him to make this film
Few years ago, I noticed this trend of learning Latin dance all over China. What made me curious is that even children joined the bandwagon. As a result of this, there were lot of competitions and events organised on Latin Dance. I thought to myself – This is exciting. That’s why I made this film.
On cracking the right script
There is tremendous pressure. Initially I had a script in my hand, but when we arrived on the sets we realised it’s not easy to follow the script. The children in China are very smart and mature, so when they tell a lie, it doesn’t look natural. I chopped the script and threw it in the bin. I went to Hins Cheung and told him that there was no script. He was shocked. We shot this movie last year during the summer holidays. We had only 35 days and everybody just improvised. It was a very realistic moment; you don’t experience it every day.
On defining the success of a film
Mainstream movies are always looking for entertainment, it’s slightly difficult with independent cinema because the budget is too low. Then again, everybody just want to make a personal movie and not talk about entertainment. But in my films, you’ll find at least one point very interesting and entertaining. I am always afraid that people might get bored after watching my films, so I try to make them happy and in the process I am happy too.
On acting without a script
In all honesty, I collapsed when I heard that the updated version of the film had no script. I just had to play with the kids and improvise. I think most of the actors and director struggle to make films with kids and animals, because it’s so hard to take control. I was very nervous, unsure of what the final outcome would be but Fruit Chan, our director, took charge of everything. The kids were very adorable and intelligent. In the end, everything went smooth.
On when the scenes got too real
I hate to be harsh to people. I am only harsh to my manager. I grew up with a lot of physical punishment. My mom is a very traditional Chinese woman. But now in this generation, everything has changed. The kids play with their iPads and iPhones. This is all because of the one child policy in China; the kid is the only treasure of the family. But in my character, I have be harsh during their trainings as I want them to win the championship. It was very challenging, because the parents were present during the shoot and I had to hit them. But Mr. Chan told me to concentrate on my role and not think of anything else. He wanted real tears. Post every shot, I would go up to the children and apologise for hitting them.