10 Things You Didn’t Know About Christopher Doyle

Rebecca Cairns

The man behind the camera is rarely granted the same popular attention as the man on the screen, but fascinating cinematographer Christopher Doyle is changing that dynamic. A favorite amongst interviewers for his zany, blunt and playful answers, Doyle’s enigmatic personality is fast becoming as famous as his films. Having just finished his latest film, Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled, Preoccupied, Preposterous, here are ten wonderful things you didn’t know about the man behind the movies.

Christopher Doyle

His Chinese is better than his English

After leaving Australia, he moved to Taiwan to learn Mandarin, and has now lived in Asia so long that English has become his second language! Doyle is not only fluent in Mandarin and English, but also French and Cantonese; he continues to learn more languages, including Spanish and Thai.

He worked as a cattle herder

When he was younger, Doyle took on many odd jobs to fund his traveling, including herding cows in India, drilling for oil in the Middle East, and working as a medicine man in southeast Asia. He was even rumored to have sailed on a Norwegian ship for three years!

Doyle’s Chinese name is Du Ke Feng

Which means ‘like the wind’ – very apt if you’ve ever read an interview with this free-spirited filmmaker! Doyle uses this name when he is in China or Hong Kong – which is most of the time – and considers himself a Chinese filmmaker, rather than Australian.

He filmed the Psycho remake without seeing the original

Doyle remade Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1998 with director Gus San Vant – without having ever seen the original. Doyle is also renowned for not reading scripts for the films, instead ‘skimming’ through them and just seeing where the mood takes him.

Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui, where Doyle filmed much of ‘Chunking Express’

Doyle Hates Hollywood

Hollywood has been an area of contempt for Doyle, from slating Claudio Miranda’s Life of Pi Oscar win to calling the judges at the Academy Awards ‘old farts.’ He considers most Hollywood films to be lazy rehashes of old movies, and believes the future and originality is in Asian cinema.

In the Mood for Love

He’s won a lot of awards

Doyle has been commended by the National Society of Film Critics, the film critic circles in New York and Chicago, and won awards from Golden Horse, the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Venice International Film Festival and Australian Film Institute (now AACTA). This, plus working with big names such as Wong Kar-wai, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon Favreau and Phillip Noyce have solidified his international fame.

He has no formal training in cinematography

Doyle never studied film or cinematography – he cites practice, passion and experience as the background for his beautifully shot films. His cinematography is unobtrusive, yet stylized – the close up focus with action blurred in the background keeps the viewer at arm’s length, and the bold colors bring vibrancy to subtle drama and action.

Umbrella Revolution at Central, November 2014

He’s been called the Keith Richards of Filmmakers

Doyle has a bad-boy reputation as a bit of a rebel. His tendency to go off-track in interviews has left many journalists with deliciously quotable rock ‘n’ roll stories about drunken wrap parties, and sexy-snippets of his promiscuous adventures. Doyle works hard and plays hard too – even though now he is into his sixties.

He works with his friends

Doyle’s cinematic projects usually stem from a joint venture with his filmmaker friends, which has led to some beautiful partnerships. Perhaps his most famous professional relationship was with director Wong Kar-wai, spanning 13 years and spawning seven sensational films. Works like Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love have been met with international critical acclaim, and have found a firm footing in Chinese cinema and international cinema in the West.

Umbrella Revolution at Causeway Bay, October 2014

He’s a political activist

Filming in Hong Kong during the turbulent Umbrella Revolution protests, Doyle has lent his voice to the political movement fighting for greater democracy and political autonomy in Hong Kong. Doyle crowd-funded this creative non-fiction film about life in Hong Kong, planning to tell the life of three generations in the city – but the coinciding Umbrella Revolution lent a new unplanned aspect to the film which Doyle and his crew pursued. Noting that the political message of Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled, Preoccupied, Preposterous may mean he never works in China again, Doyle still filmed the protests at the occupied ground in Admiralty in late 2014, supporting the student protestors against the police. A year on from the tear-gas attacks by police on student protestors, his film has been met with warm reviews, and is currently being released to Australian audiences.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.