Kwok, Kam-yan Crystal

Critical Biography    Filmography    Reviews    Links   Bibliography

Kwok, Kam-yan Crystal – Critical Biography  Top

Crystal Kwok
Crystal Kwok

Crystal Kwok was born in San Francisco but moved to Hong Kong as a child. She spent part of her childhood years in Hong Kong, but returned to the United States to continue her education. While studying for a degree in theatre arts at UCLA, Kwok took part in a Miss Chinatown contest and her participation led to a film contract with Golden Harvest, as well as appearances in two Jackie Chan movies, Dragons Forever (1988) and Police Story 2 (1988). Although Kwok continued to star in a number of Hong Kong films, including Tsui Hark’s The Master (1989) and Ann Hui’s Ah Kam (1996), she did not want to confine her career to solely acting in movies. She completed her undergraduate degree at UCLA and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Literary Studies at the University of Hong Kong in 1995. During this period, Kwok also began hosting shows on both radio (Kwok Talk on FM Select) and cable television that dealt frankly with sexual issues. Although Kwok’s first directorial effort was a documentary, made for the French cable television station Canal Plus on the subject of action star Jackie Chan, her feature film debut was a drama that dealt with issues of female sexuality close to Kwok’s heart. The Mistress (1999) told the story of a young woman who becomes the English tutor of a wealthy Hong Kong man’s mainland Chinese mistress, and is slowly drawn into a world of sensuality. The film received the Lotus du Public award (audience choice award) at the 2000 Deauville Asian Film Festival, France. Kwok had gained experience as a director previously by serving as assistant director to Sylvia Chang on the Gong Li film Mary from Beijing (1992), and on The Mistress, she worked with veteran director Lawrence Ah Mon as her producer. The result was warmly received by critics, although box-office performance was modest, and Kwok has chosen in recent years to work in theatre rather than in film. As a mother of three, she also produced bilingual edutainment DVDs for children via the series Culture Cubs. She currently presents a radio show with RTHK entitled The Sex Crystals, a platform for provocative and socially sensitive issues focusing on women and sexuality.

filmoFilmography   Top

Feature Films:

Role Title (English) Title (Chinese) Year
Co-producer with Lawrence Ah Mon
The Mistress (Trailer) 迷失森林 1999
Assistant director Mary from Beijing (Trailer) 夢醒時分 1992


reviewReviews   Top

The Mistress (1999):

So Good Reviews – The Mistress (1999)

Mary from Beijing (1992): 

So Good Reviews – Mary from Beijing (1992)



linkLinks   Top

Hong Kong Cinemagic – Crystal Kwok Kam Yan

Hong Kong Movie Database – Crystal Kwok Gam-Yan

IMDB – Crystal Kwok

The Ultimate Guide to Hong Kong Directors 1979-2013 – KWOK Crystal

RTHK – Kwok Talk

Mandarin language educational DVD series for children – Culture Cubs

RTHK – The Sex Crystals

SCMP – Director Crystal Kwok on Jackie Chan, sex talk and where Asians fitted into segregated US South

biblioBibliography   Top

  1. Kwok, Crystal Lee. “Ghosts and Goddesses: Women, Cinema, & the Image.” University of Hong Kong, 1995. Print. <>
  2. Erens, Patricia Brett. “The Mistress and Female Sexuality.” Hong Kong Screenscapes: From the New Wave to the Digital Frontier. Eds. Cheung, Esther M. K., Gina Marchetti and See Kam Tan. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010. Print.
  3. Ford, Stacilee. “Home for the Handover: Muted Exceptionalisms in Transnational Times.” Troubling American Women : Narratives of Gender and Nation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011. Print.
  4. Meyer, Mahlon. “Having Too Many Wives Ain’t What It Used to Be; Cursing the Concubines.” Newsweek, International Edition 1999, June 28: 45. Print.