Charlie Yeung’s Directorial Debut, “Christmas Rose” Explores Sexual Harassment

It took five long years for Charlie Yeung (楊采妮) to realize her directing dreams. This summer, the Hong Kong actress will finally release her directorial debut, Christmas Rose <聖誕玫瑰> in cinemas!

A legal thriller about an ambiguous rape case, the film is produced by Tsui Hark (徐克) and Jacob Cheung (張之亮). The film stars Aaron Kwok (郭富城) as defense attorney Tim, who quits his empowering job to work as a prosecutor for the Justice Department. Tim agrees to help the handicapped piano teacher, Jing (Kwai Lun Mei 桂綸鎂), who is suing her doctor, Zhou (Chang Chen 張震) for sexual harassment during a routine check-up.

The case is trickier than Tim originally perceived. Not only is Zhou a renowned surgeon with an impressive reputation, Zhou’s defense attorney, Freddy (Xia Yu 夏雨) is also Tim’s successor at his old law firm. The ambitious Freddy strives to defeat Tim in the high-stakes legal battle.

Charlie has been working on the script of Christmas Rose since early 2008. After winning an HAF Excellence Award at the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum in 2009, Christmas Rose received full financing from the organization, which totaled $2 million USD.

A minute-long teaser trailer was released on Tuesday, which showcased some of the film’s intensive court battles. A press conference was held on the same day in Beijing, attended by the film’s cast and crew.

Tsui Hark expressed that he immediately agreed to help Charlie after she presented the project to him a few years ago. “It has been a while since I have released films as a producer. Charlie has chosen a very daring topic to explore, and the entire film looks very challenging to make. I really want to help her complete [the project].”

Yu Dong (于冬), the CEO of the film’s production company, Bona Films, admitted that he was initially hesitant on investing in the film. With such a controversial topic serving as the film’s core, Yu feared that the film would become a critical and commercial disappointment. “After seeing Charlie’s hard work and knowing that producers Tsui Hark and Jacob Cheung are completely supporting her, my confidence in the project grew. Thanks to Charlie’s ‘friendship cards,’ the film is now supported by a huge cast!”

“The film’s subject matter is a nightmare that none of us ever dared to touch on,” said Chang Chen. “I was a bit iffy about accepting this film. After all, sexual harassment is a very taboo topic.”

The film’s other male lead, Aaron, agreed with Chang Chen and said, “This topic can be painful for both males and females. I was worried about how Charlie would handle it.”

However, it was Charlie’s well-written and “mind-blowing” script that won the actors over. “It is the truth,” said Xia Yu. “It was the right decision to film this movie. Thank you, Charlie, for inviting us!” The mainland actor then added humorously, “Thank you, Charlie, for not asking me to portray the sexually harassed victim!”

Introduced as the film’s secret weapon, Chang Chen’s casting was not revealed to the rest of the cast until during the film’s first post-shooting press conference. Chang Chen portrays the lustful doctor Zhou, the film’s central figure of debate.

“Yes, I portray the lustful doctor,” Chang Chen said with a smile. “So apparently, this is the image that Charlie has of me!”

Christmas Rose is planned for a May 2013 release in mainland China.

“Christmas Rose” Trailer
[vsw id=”pk6XczUYZAY” source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”375″ autoplay=”no”]


This article is written by Addy for

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    1. Charlie is GUTSY for tackling a universal problem that exists everywhere. It’s no secret that harassment of women is common throughout Asia but not taken seriously.

  1. Charlie is beautiful. I remembered her from the mid-90s, her hair was always smooth in MV and on TV.

  2. The scenes look intense,

    Charlie, bravo and kudos to you.

    You are so beautiful on screen, and now off screen you are so talented.

    My kind of woman.

  3. I grew up watching Charlie Yeung in my teens and wish her the best of luck!

  4. Wow!!! The trailer looks great! Bravo Charlie!!! I am so happy for u to be writing about such a controversial topic.
    Bringing such a taboo topic to the millions in a suspenseful and thrilling way will hopefully make ppl aware of the consequences. I am disgusted that sexual harassment is still rampant throughout Asia, shame on those who think they are above the law. It is wrong to trespass someone’s personal space without their consent. Despicable!
    On a lighter note, I can’t wait for the film to be translated in Cantonese, preferably with English subtitles and shown in Australia!!! I’ve always admired u Charlie, for ur beauty, easy going demeanor and now ur wonderful writing and directing skills. Um…the movie title…what’s all that about??? I’m confused, Jayne could u help me out?

    1. Joey,
      Perhaps director Charlie Yeung will explain why she chose to title the film “Christmas Rose”.

      Below is my guess:

      A Christmas rose is actually not a rose, but a hardy flower called the hellebore. It’s a simple flower that sprouts in the winter and survives harsh conditions. There is a legend about the Christmas rose, in which as girl has no gift to give to baby Christ. According to the story, hellebore flowers sprouted in the snow from her tears.

      If Charlie is Christian, she may be referring to this story in the film’s title. Perhaps it describes how female lead, Kwai Lun Mei, remains a strong woman despite sexual harassment and there is something positive to come out from the incident which wrings her heart and tears.

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