Stranger Tales
Tatler Hong Kong|October 2021
Hong Kong’s first Palme d’Or Short Film winner Tang Yi says her victory is the result of being true to herself
Zabrina Lo

“I don’t know why my school took me [on] because they definitely wanted more serious and drama filmmaking,” says Tang Yi when asked about being accepted to New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. “In my interview, they asked me who my favorite director was. Most students would answer Wong Kar Wai or Federico Fellini, or some really big cinema names. I answered Ben Stiller. He’s the only person that could make David Bowie judge the underwear of two male models, and he’s probably the only person that could get Tom Cruise to become bald and dance in Tropic Thunder,” says Tang Yi with a hearty laugh. “I wanted to do that. Deep inside, I’m a huge screwball.”

That attitude pretty much explains the black comedic style of Tang’s second short film, All the Crows in the World, which, one summer night at the Cannes Film Festival, shot the 32-year-old Hong Kong director to international fame when it won the Palme d’Or Short Film. In this 14-minute work, a schoolgirl is plunged into a world of grown-up lust as her cousin brings her to a brothel with some of his middle-aged male friends. Confronted by the shocking reality of the debauched lifestyle her cousin secretly revels in, she befriends the only other member of the party not having fun: a man who admits the reason he’s not enjoying himself there is that he’s gay.

In the weeks since Cannes, Tang, who graduated with an MFA degree from Tisch last month, has already signed with representation firms WME and M88, the latter of which manages the likes of British actress Gemma Chan and American star Michael B Jordan, and accepted an invitation to be a juror at Linz International Short Film Festival in Austria.

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