Representation on the screen is immensely important but it is equally important for the film professionals who work behind the scenes to come from a place of authentic understanding about the subject matter involved in telling certain stories. Director Kenneth Ma required an editor of exceptional skill who was also very familiar with the environment and temperament of modern day Hong Kong; both of which he found in Wei Li, his collaborator on Puzzled Path. Mr. Li informs, “This is a story under the Hong Kong movement background. Kenneth wanted someone who understands this background but could stand in a neutral perspective.” In addition to editing, Wei had a strong hand in communicating with departments such as VFX and sound effects to materialize the vision for this film. Currently making its way through several prestigious film festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival of Cift, Flicker’s Rhode Island International Film Festival, and others, Puzzled Path puts a personal face on an occurrence of great international importance which is playing out in real time. For those who want to comprehend the impact of what is happening in Hong Kong with a perspective which focuses on people rather than ideologies, Puzzled Path permits an intimate access
The situation playing out in present day Hong Kong is full of drama. Easily painted with the broad brush of “society” the decision to put a personal identity to the volatility occurring in this part of the world is what makes Puzzled Path so impactful. The faces of this film are Kun, a retired seventy-three-year old policeman with brain atrophy, and Chan, his forty-year-old son who strongly disagrees with his father on social movements. Throughout the story, the tensions in Hong Kong are visible through these two men as they share an inseparable connection while still unable to find respite. We see them both conflicting with the police/black-shirts for different reasons. Their experiences help to illustrate the complexity involved in the turmoil of Hong Kong. Different generations and different ideals yet tethered by a familial bond. Mr. Li’s extraordinary skill is obvious in scenes such as when the police enter Kun’s house to look for Chan and the close-ups between faces manifests a climate of constrictive tension. Later in the film when father and son sit in the car, the slow pace and use of close quarters is quite literally the opposite as a comforting warmth exudes from this space. While the setting is nearly equal, the choices Wei has made construct an emotional space that could not be more disparate.
Recently, Wei finds himself immersed in a project vastly different from the reality infused Puzzled Path. The Wheel of Time (whose cast is led by Academy Award Nominated Actress Rosamund Pike) is a big budget fantasy series and one of the most popular ever produced by Amazon Prime. Working on the complementary aftershow Inside the Wheel of Time has been a professional joy for Li. He communicates, “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life. My experience is mostly in terms of footage organizing, syncing, building Multi-camera, editing the first cut, working the caption, exporting art for delivery, and so on. I joined the team at the very beginning when this project started. It’s a magnificent look from inside of the Hollywood industry. It’s also a reminder that I want to keep learning and growing in my professional life.”
Writer: Arlen Gann