Law (aka Law Kai-yui) died in hospital with his life partner and long-time filmmaking partner Mabel Cheung by his side. The cause of death was not disclosed.
The pair often swapped roles in order to support each other’s efforts. A writer, director and producer, Law took directing credits on “Echoes of the Rainbow,” a nostalgic reminiscence about 1960s Hong Kong. Produced by Cheung, it was the first film from the city to win the Crystal Bear award at the Berlin film festival’s Generation Kplus section.
Law was writer and producer of Cheung’s best-known film, the 1997 historical biopic “The Soong Sisters” and writer of her “An Autumn’s Tale.”
Born in 1952, Law graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a degree in Chinese and English studies and comparative literature in 1976. He met Cheung while studying for a master’s degree in New York.
New York was also where Law and Cheung achieved much of the research for “The Soong Sisters,” which chronicled an influential, but now historically inconvenient, family. One of the daughters married Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary founder of modern China. Another married Chiang Kai-shek, China’s leader during WWII, but who broke with Communist forces in 1949 and set up the Republic of China in Taiwan. Law previously told Variety that many documents about the family, and their influence on Chinese affairs through the 20th century were no longer to be found in China, but were preserved in the U.S. instead.
Law’s death drew notices from many corners of Hong Kong society.
The chairman of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, Wilfred Wong Ying-wai said” “Alex is a leading figure in the development of the local film industry. Being an outstanding Hong Kong film director, he had earned a lot of achievement throughout his career. He had also contributed a lot to the local film industry. He was member of the FDC from 2013 to 2015. (..) I am particularly impressed by Alex’s enthusiasm to support the programs launched by the FDC. He joined the Directors’ Succession Scheme in order to pass his exceptional directing knowledge and experiences to the younger generation. He also helped assess the works of the Scriptwriting Incubation Program and First Feature Film Initiative for identifying screenwriting talents and new directors. His departure is a huge loss for the local film industry and he will be truly missed.”
Kevin Yeung, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said: “Alex had been contributing a lot to the local film industry and created a lot of classic popular films which are full of cultural ambiance. (..) Apart from these personal achievements, Alex had also been active in promoting the Hong Kong film industry development through various government initiatives. (..) I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends.”