Traces of a Dragon Traces of a Dragon - (English) TYPE5
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Film Date :   2003
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Traces of a Dragon

Traces of a Dragon( Chinese :龍的深處:失落的拼圖; akaTraces of a Dragon: Jackie Chan and his Lost Family) is a 2003 documentary film directed by Mabel Cheung . The film explores the touching and history-filled background of Jackie Chan as we have never seen him before.

The world knows him as Jackie Chan. His Chinese fans know him by the stage name Sing Lung (成龍); which means "Becoming the Dragon"). The official record gives his birth name as Chan Kong Sang (陳港生). But two years ago Jackie Chan found out from his father that his ‘real’ name is Fong Si Lung/Fang Shilong (房仕龍). This revelation came with the uncovering of a previously hidden family history, a chronicle of lives scarred by war, poverty and separation. Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong on 7 April 1954. His father Chan Chi-Ping (陳志平) worked at the US Consulate. Mr Chan had met his wife-to-be Lily in China, years before, amid the turmoil of the Japanese invasion and the chaos of the civil war between Nationalists and Communists. They married in Hong Kong as newly arrived refugees from the Communist revolution, and Jackie was their only child. But both of them had been married before … Chan Chi-Ping (at that time going by his real name Fang Daolong (房道龍) first became an economic migrant in the 1930s, moving from his native province Shandong to the more prosperous areas along the Yangtze River. Mr Fang met his first wife in Anhui and married her in Wuhu; they had two sons, Shide and Shishen. But his wife fell ill with cancer when their elder son was only seven. She died in 1947. Mr Fang had already worked in many jobs (apprentice draper, river trader, and strong-arm man for the Nationalists’ Intelligence Bureau); he made his way to Shanghai and headed the underworld ‘Shandong Gang’ until the city fell to the Communists in 1949. Lily Chen was a native of Wuhu who married a local cobbler in the 1930s and had two daughters with him, Guilan and Yulan. The very first time that Japanese aircraft bombed the city, Lily’s husband died in an explosion at Wuhu Railway Station. Lily was 28 at the time. She refused to be ‘sold’ into a marriage arranged by her parents and stormed out of the family to find a way to support herself and her two young daughters. It was while she was trafficking opium that she first met Fang Daolong, then working as an inspector at the port; he took pity on her and let her go without punishment. She went on to become a ‘queen’ of the demi-monde in Shanghai, a legendary gambler in the city’s casinos. Both Fang Daolong and Lily Chen had an urgent need to flee China after the Communist victory in October 1949. Both of them had underworld connections, which made them (in Communist eyes) "bad class elements"; Mr Fang also had the disadvantage of having served with the Nationalist army. He moved to Hong Kong at the first opportunity, and took the precaution of hiding his tracks by changing his name to "Chan Chi-Ping". Lily reached Hong Kong (via Macau) soon afterwards. Both of them were forced to abandon their children in China. They married soon after their reunion in Hong Kong, and Jackie was born (by Caesarian section) in 1954. Jackie was an exuberant and well-liked boy who didn’t enjoy school but at the age of seven found his niche in a Peking Opera Academy run by Master Yu. His father pledged him to a ten-year apprenticeship with Master Yu, learning acrobatic stagecraft and other performing skills. His classmates included his lifetime friends and future collaborators Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao; all three of them were members of the academy’s performing troupe, the Seven Little Fortunes. Right after Jackie entered the academy his parents emigrated to Australia with their employer, US Consul Greene, who had been appointed US Ambassador in Canberra. For many years, Jackie’s only contact with his folks was through the taped letters he regularly received from them. But his father returned to Hong Kong for his graduation, and bought him an apartment in Sun Po Kung to set him up for a future in stage and film work. Jackie’s career did not take off at first, and the endless succession of bit parts and stunt jobs led him to consider emigrating to Australia to rejoin his parents. But Canberra offered only work on construction sites and in kitchens, and in 1976 he responded enthusiastically to the offer of a contract with the newly founded Lo Wei Film Company in Hong Kong, which starred him in a series of low-budget martial arts adventures. He then became a local superstar in two movies directed by the now-legendary Yuen Woo-Ping, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master, both made in 1978. Meanwhile his parents in Australia were taking advantage of China’s stabilising political situation to set about tracing the long-lost children they had been forced to leave behind when they fled to Hong Kong. Lily found her daughters with no great difficulty, and Guilan emigrated to Australia to look after her mother when she fell ill. Chan Chi-Long eventually traced his two sons with the help of the Chinese Ambassador to Australia (a fellow native of Shandong), and had a reunion with them in Guangzhou in 1985. Both had suffered victimisation in Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s, and both were having difficulty in adjusting to life in the era of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. Eventually, in the late 1990s, Chan Chi-Long was able to convene a gathering in Anhui of his extended family. He revised and restored the Fang family register, proudly adding the name of his Hong Kong-born son Jackie: Fang Shilong. Traces of the Dragon explores this emotionally charged history and shows Jackie Chan’s reaction to the discovery that he has two half-brothers he has never met. It’s the story of one Chinese family, but it mirrors the fates of countless other Chinese families in the 20th century. The film is dedicated to the memory of Jackie’s mother Lily Chan, who died in 2001.

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