Born on this day in Canton, South China, film director John Woo (1948-) is best known for the Hong Kong action movies that inspired Quentin Tarantino and launched the careers of charismatic actors Chow Yun-Fat and Jackie Chan.
"When I was in high school, I dreamed of being a film-maker, but my family was so poor that they couldn't afford for me to go to college," Woo said. Instead, he discovered filmmaking. With films, he could escape and create.
With his first movie, The Young Dragons (1973), Woo launched a career of directing breathtaking films that would change Hong Kong cinema and influence the world.
He moved to America in 1992 and directed such films as Face/Off (w/ John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, 1997), Mission Impossible 2 (w/Tom Cruise, 2000).
His films are beautifully-choreographed spectacles where bullet exchanges have poetic reality. "When I shoot action sequences," he explained. "I think of great dancers... Gene Kelly, (Fred) Astaire. Even though it is violence, it's dance."
Actor Ben Affleck said of Woo: "I've never worked with somebody who really sees movies as an extended choreography based on one long dance, and the dance is between the actors and the camera."
The director has shown that he is a master at slow-motion and larger-than-life style. Woo claimed to be peace loving and celebrates humanity. "The movies I like to make are very rich and full of passion," he said. "Some people see me as an action director, but action is not the only thing in my movies. I always like to show human nature - something deep inside the heart."
What you feel is real.