THE FIRST TIME I saw Duckweed was during Chinese New Year holidays, when I was in my hometown, Qingdao. It’s a comedy about a professional rally racer who magically travels back in time and becomes friends with the younger version of his father. I watched it with my family at a sold- out show, and I can still recall how much the audience laughed.
I am friends with Han Han, the prominent novelist who directed the film. We’d often get together and chat about cinema. I was amazed when I saw the movie and surprised that a novelist could be so adept at film language and have such a good grasp of pacing. The entire film is hilarious and brilliantly conceived, with vivid characters that are well fleshedout. It’s an advanced piece of film-making. To be honest, it made me quite jealous.
Another reason I like it is Han included music and clips from the original 1986 version of A Better Tomorrow, a film that I’m a huge fan of. In fact, when I told him I was remaking A Better Tomorrow, he said one thing: ‘ There are only two people in this world who can make this film: one is me, and the other is you.’
That’s why I asked Han to do a cameo in A Better Tomorrow 2018. In that scene, Ray Ma, who plays a police officer, commandeers a car and pulls the driver out. The driver, played by Han, offers to take the wheel, but the police officer says, ‘No way, because you have terrible driving skills.’ Everyone knows that Han is actually a professional rally driver in real life, so I added that line as an inside joke.