Two years ago, Peter Chan (陳可辛) started work as the director for American Dreams in China <中國合夥人>. Around the same time, he also served as the executive producer for The Truth About Beauty <整容日記>, a romantic comedy about plastic surgery.
American Dreams, which was released in 2013, was hailed as a bona fide success, winning critical acclaim and the approval of many businessmen. On the other hand, The Truth About Beauty seemed to be nothing more than a blip on Chan’s radar. The day after the movie’s news conference, he immediately headed to Beijing to begin his next film, Dear Child <親愛的小孩>.
As a result, it may be no surprise that Chan comes across as extremely laid-back when asked in a recent interview about The Truth About Beauty, particularly regarding its system of values. Leading up to its release, the film sparked much debate about plastic surgery in the Chinese entertainment industry, a hot-button issue that many celebrities remain hesitant to address.
However, Chan directly stated that The Truth About Beauty is not meant to instruct viewers on what is right and wrong, and thus the film neither criticizes nor encourages plastic surgery. “Mainland Chinese culture loves to add on a ‘system of values’ to everything, and I don’t really like this,” he said. “A movie reflects society and humanity. You really think of [a movie] too highly if you force it to be used for educational purposes.
“I’m a person as well. I’m not perfect,” he went on. “I won’t pretend like I speak extremely properly and then go teach others. As for plastic surgery, if you can shoulder this decision and have the courage to do it, it’s actually quite harmless.”
Despite his neutral attitude toward plastic surgery, Chan freely admitted that most of the plastic surgery results he has seen are subpar. Moreover, he shared that he and his partner, Sandra Ng (吳君如), frequently laugh at people who have made unfortunate changes to their looks by going under the knife: “We will often look at people in the newspaper and comment on how awful they look after plastic surgery. They won’t be able to act anymore, because the skin on their face is stretched taut.”
Nevertheless, Chan emphasized that he would never film a movie for the purpose of condemning plastic surgery.
The Truth About Beauty, which stars Bai Baihe (白百何) and Ronald Cheng (鄭中基) and is helmed by screenwriter-turned-director Aubrey Lam (林愛華), opened in theaters on April 4.
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.