JOHN WOO Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: John Woo.                                                                         
Born: 1 May 1946 Guangzhou, China                                                       
John Woo Yu-Sen (born May 1, 1946) is an                                                 
internationally and critically acclaimed Chinese film director and producer. Woo         
is widely known for his stylised movies which are renowned for their balletic           
action sequences, Mexican stand-offs, and use of slow-motion. He directed the           
notable Hong Kong action films, A Better Tomorrow, Hard Boiled, and The Killer.         
His English-language movies include Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, and             
Mission: Impossible 2. As a young boy, Woo wanted to be a Christian minister;           
he later found a passion for movies influenced by European film, the French New         
Wave and Jean-Pierre Melville. Woo has said he was shy and had difficulty               
speaking, but found making movies a way to explore his feelings and thinking and         
would "use movie as a language". Woo cites his three favourite films as                 
Lawrence of Arabia, Seven Samurai and Melville's Le Samoura├». Woo was                   
described by Dave Kehr in The Observer in 2002 as "arguably the most influential         
director making movies today".                                                           
At age five Woo's parents were faced with persecution and his Christian family           
fled to Hong Kong. During this time, the Woo family led a hard life in the slums         
at Shek Kip Mei, since his father had tuberculosis and could not work. Woo               
went to Concordia Lutheran School and received Christian education. In 1953 the         
family was rendered homeless, when their house was burned to the ground as part         
of the famous HK Shek Kip Mei fire. Thanks to donations from charities, his             
family was able to move into another house. Unfortunately, by this time, a wave         
of crime and violence was beginning to infest Hong Kong's housing projects.             
In order to escape his dismal surroundings, Woo would retreat to the local movie         
theater. Woo found his respite through musicals like The Wizard of Oz. During           
his youth, he enjoyed watching Western movies, especially the final scene in             
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the two comrades run out gun blazing (where     
he got the inspiration of holding two guns). Woo is also a fan of Hollywood             
Woo married Annie Woo Ngau Chun-lung in 1976 and has had three children. He             
plans to continue living in the United States.