Composer Spotlight: Yonfan
As spring arrives and cherry blossoms come into bloom, our Composer Spotlight for this month returns to the 2019 film No.7 Cherry Lane, the first animated feature from acclaimed Hong Kong director, photographer, and composer Yonfan.
Set in the politically charged era of 1960s Hong Kong during the tumultuous White Terror period, No.7 Cherry Lane is a tale of love and entanglement between Ziming, a Hong Kong University undergraduate, and Mrs. Yu, a self-exiled mother from Taiwan, and her beautiful daughter Meiling. The film, which has drawn comparisons to the work of Wong Kar Wai, premiered at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019 and won the Best Screenplay award. It subsequently toured film festivals around the world and premiered on streaming in the US via Criterion Channel’s streaming service in July 2021.
The film’s eclectic soundtrack was a collaborative effort, with Yonfan, songwriter and Canto-pop icon Yu Yat-Yiu, and award-winning Thai composer Chapavich Temnitikul all contributing. The lush orchestral music was recorded live in Prague, and the film’s theme song “Southern Cross” was composed by Yonfan and rapper BOYoung. The song blends a 1940s, Shanghai-style melody sung by legendary Taiwanese singer Chyi Yu with a contemporary style performed by BOYoung and Zoe Yu, representing the collision of yesterday, today, and tomorrow at the heart of the movie.
Of his playlist selection, Yonfan commented “No.7 Cherry Lane is my love letter to Hong Kong and the cinema…I often find inspiration from music popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1960s, evoking nostalgic images from a bygone era. I am sharing some of these classics on my very eclectic playlist, hoping they would also help you to bring back some fond memories.”
Revisit the soundtrack wherever you listen to music and check out Yonfan’s playlist below!