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Leong, Po Chih (1939-)

Director, Producer

Main image of Leong, Po Chih (1939-)

Born in 1939 in England, Po Chih Leong (Mandarin name Liang Puzhi) attended the London Film School, before embarking on a philosophy degree at the University of Exeter. In 1963 he was taken on by the BBC as a trainee film editor and worked on a variety of productions. He left England for Hong Kong in 1967 to work at the new television station TVB, where he directed a number of entertainment programmes, rising quickly to executive producer. He left TVB in 1969 to form his own production company.

Leong's first film, Jumping Ash (HK, 1976), an action film set in a drug underworld, was one of the top-grossing films of the season. He went on to direct on average a film a year in a range of genres from action movies to slapstick comedies and low budget horror. Banana Cop (HK Yinglan Pipa, 1984), the story of a British Chinese policeman who returns to Hong Kong to seek help with a case, was the genesis for his first British film Ping Pong (1986).

After Banana Cop, Leong turned to history for inspiration and made the political film Hong Kong 1941 (HK, 1984), set in the days before the Japanese invasion. Hong Kong 1941 was an oblique comment on the 1984 deal between Britain and China about Hong Kong's future. Leong and his daughter documented the effect of this deal in Riding The Tiger (1997), a four part observational documentary series made for Channel 4.

His second British feature film, The Wisdom of Crocodiles, starring Jude Law, Timothy Spall and Kerry Fox, appeared in 1998. In recent years Leong has made films for US television.

Ann Ogidi

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Thumbnail image of Ping Pong (1986)Ping Pong (1986)

Comedy drama set among London's Chinese community

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