Hong Kong Women Filmmakers

Chang, Ai-chia Sylvia

Critical Biography    Filmography    Reviews    Links   Bibliography

   Chang, Ai-chia Sylvia – Critical Biography  Top

Sylvia Chang

Sylvia Chang

Known for her sensitive work as an actress, Sylvia Chang is also acclaimed as a director with a fine sense of drama, able to elicit strong performances from a wide range of performers. Chang entered the Taiwanese film industry as an actress in the 1970s, after having left school as a teenager and worked as a radio personality. Her first film role was in The Tattooed Dragon (1973) directed by Lo Wei, and a good many parts followed in its wake. Only a few years later, Chang was able to secure a major role in King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain (1979), marking the first of many occasions throughout Chang’s career as an actress when she was able to collaborate with a significant filmmaker and auteur.

In the 1980s and early 90s, Chang was in demand as an actress in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. She starred in such art films as Edward Yang’s That Day on the Beach (1983), as well as popular entertainment produced by Hong Kong’s Cinema City (Tsui Hark’s Shanghai Blues [1984], plus a recurring role in the popular Aces Go Places series). Her work in Hong Kong included collaborations with Michael Hui (Chicken and Duck Talk, 1988), Sammo Hung and Mabel Cheung (Eight Taels of Gold, 1989), Chow Yun-Fat and Johnnie To (All About Ah Long, 1989), as well as directors Stanley Kwan (Full Moon in New York, 1990) and Lawrence Ah Mon (Queen of Temple Street, 1990).

While she continued to act in the 90s and 2000s, with roles in important works by Derek Yee (C’est la vie, mon cheri, 1994), Ang Lee (Eat Drink Man Woman, 1994), and Tian Zhuangzhuang (The Go Master, 2006), Chang became increasingly noted as a director from the 90s onwards, although she had already directed several features the decade before. An important early work was Passion (1986), starring Chang herself, for which she was nominated for Best Directing at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. In 1992, she directed actress Gong Li in the Zhang Yimou-produced, Christopher Doyle-shot Mary From Beijing (1992), in which Gong played a Mainland Chinese woman trying to figure out her relationships, as well as obtain legal residency in Hong Kong. Chang went on to receive great acclaim a few years later for another immigration drama featuring a strong female character at its center – the New York-set Siao Yu (1995) – a film that also marked the successful debut of Taiwanese actress Rene Liu.

At the turn of the decade, Chang scored a box-office hit with the popular romance Tempting Heart (1999) – starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Gigi Leung, and Karen Mok – a film that cross-cuts between the 1970sand the 1990s in the unfolding of a love triangle drama that is equal parts memory, reality, and fantasy. The internet generation became the focus of her subsequent film, Princess D (2002), a movie that looks at virtual reality by detailing the relationship between a game designer (Daniel Wu), his game character, as well as the girl (Angelica Lee) who may have inspired his virtual creation. Chang then turned to the women’s picture in 20 30 40 (2004), a look at the desires and fears, lives and relationships of three women respectively in their twenties (Angelica Lee), thirties (Rene Liu), and forties (Sylvia Chang). The film reunited Chang with two of her favorite actresses, and was entered into competition at the 2004 Berlinale.

In recent years, Chang has been less prolific: she directed in 2008 a Hong Kong comedy-drama starring Louis Koo as a gangster trying to raise a young daughter (Run Papa Run, 2008), and gave a memorable performance as a retired opera singer in Li Yu’s Mainland production, Buddha Mountain (2010). in 2015, she was named as the “Filmmaker in Focus” for the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival.

(Last Update: 1 March 2015)

filmoFilmography   Top

Feature Films:


Title (English)
Title (Chinese)
Love Education 相愛相親 2017
Office (Trailer) 華麗上班族 2015
Director Murmur of the Hearts (Trailer) 念念 2014
Producer My Way (Trailer) 乾旦路 2012
Run Papa Run (Trailer) 一個好爸爸 2008
Writer Happy Birthday (Trailer) 生日快樂 2007
20:30:40 (Trailer) 20 30 40 2004
Co-director with Alan Yuen Kam-lun
Princess D (Trailer) 想飛 2002
Director Writer Tempting Heart (Trailer) 心動 1999
Tonight Nobody Goes Home 今天不回家 1996
Shao Nu Xiao Yu 少女小漁 1995
The New Age of Living Together 新同居時代 1994
Mary from Beijing 夢醒時分 1992
Writer Three Summers 三個夏天 1992
Sisters of the World Unite 莎莎嘉嘉站起來 1991
Director Yellow Story 黃色故事 1987
Director Passion 最愛 1986
Director Once Upon a Time 某年某月某一天 1981



Title (English)
Title (Chinese)
The Dusk of the Gods in 10+10 (Full movie) 諸神的黃昏 2011

reviewReviews   Top


Love Education Reviews:

Screen Daily: https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/love-education-busan-review/5123537.article

SCMP: Film review: Love Education – Sylvia Chang contemplates the meaning of love in multi-generational relationship drama

Love Education News:

China Films Insider: The 22nd Busan International Film Festival Closes with Sylvia Chang’s ‘Love Education’

Mtime (in Chinese) – (Simplified Chinese) 张艾嘉《相爱相亲》闭幕釜山电影节

Run Papa Run Reviews:

Far East Films: http://www.fareastfilms.com/reviewsPage/Run-Papa-Run-1836.htm
Love HK Film: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews_2/run_papa_run.html
講。鏟。片 (In Chinese):
SCMP Interview [Youtube] (In Cantonese with English captions): Filmmaker Sylvia Chang defies gender rules

Murmur of the Hearts Reviews:

Variety: http://variety.com/2015/film/asia/film-review-murmur-of-the-hearts-1201456172/

Sino Cinema: http://sino-cinema.com/2016/01/31/review-murmur-of-the-hearts/    

Murmur of the Heart News:

SCMP: Sylvia Chang on her latest film, Murmur of the Hearts, and trying to shed her movie star image

EYE Filmmuseum: CinemAsia: Murmur of the Hearts


CRTV.NL: interview with Sylvia Chang 張艾嘉

Dutch Culture – centre for international cooperation: CinemAsia Film Festival 2016 Focus on Chinese Film

Happy Birthday Reviews:

Love HK Film: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews_2/happy_birthday.htm
MovieXclusive: http://www.moviexclusive.com/review/happybirthday/happybirthday.htm

20:30:40 Reviews:

Hong Kong Film Critics Society:
Love HK Film: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews/20_30_40.htm
Variety: http://variety.com/2004/film/reviews/20-30-40-1200536368/

Princess D Reviews:

Love HK Film [1]: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews/princess_d.htm
Love HK Film [2]: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/blog/roninonempty/?p=700
Variety: http://variety.com/2002/film/reviews/princess-d-1200549101/

Tempting Heart Reviews:

Far East Films: http://www.fareastfilms.com/reviewsPage/Purple-Storm-1459.htm
Love HK Film: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews/tempting_heart.htm
So Good Reviews: http://www.sogoodreviews.com/reviews/temptingheart.htm
Variety: http://variety.com/1999/film/reviews/tempting-heart-1200457946/


HKIFF – Face to Face: Sylvia Chang

HKIFF – The 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival Filmmaker in Focus: Ms. Sylvia Chang (Press release)

Hollywood Reporter – Hong Kong Film Festival to Put Spotlight on Sylvia Chang

CinemAsia: Sylvia Chang has it all

CinemAsia: Interview with Sylvia Chang (By Alexander Zwart)

SentieriSelvaggi (in Italian): CinemAsia – I mormorii del cuore di Sylvia Chang



linkLinks   Top

My Way:
Official Website of My Wayhttps://www.facebook.com/mywaythefilm

biblioBibliography   Top

  1. Davis, Darrell William. “Trendy in Taiwan: Problems of Popularity in the Island’s Cinema.” Cinema Taiwan: Politics, Popularity and State of the Arts. Ed. Darrell William Davis and Ru-shou Robert Chen. London: Routledge, 2007. 146-158.
  2. Huang, Yu-shan and Chun-chi Wang. “Post-Taiwan New Cinema Women Directors and Their Films: Auturs, Images, Language.” Chinese Women’s Cinema: Transnational Contexts. Ed. Lingzhen Wang. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. 132-153.
  3. Leung, Helen Hok-Sze. “Between Girls.” Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008. 40-64.
  4. Shen, S.-Y. (2001). Locating Feminine Writing in Taiwan Cinema: A Study of Yang Hui-shan’s Body and Sylvia Chang’s Siao Yu. Post Script, 20(2–3), 115.
  5. Zhang, Zhen. “Migrating Hearts: The Cultural Geography of Sylvia Chang’s Melodrama.” Chinese Women’s Cinema: Transnational Contexts. Ed. Lingzhen Wang. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. 88-112.


(Last Update: 14 December 2017)