Friday, January 23, 2015

SCUD Hong Kong Film Director on his latest work “VOYAGE”(遊), PART 1




SCUD: “I used  to live precariously, harboring latent signs of DEPRESSION. Those were dark periods where I cannot plan or work.  I was fighting my inner demons. Departures of loved ones fueled painful feelings of loss. I therefore decided to make my “VOYAGE”遊 film project addressing how  mental angst can wreck a person’s life.”


1. Voyage is going to be your latest film to hit the screen. Can you tell us what the film is about and what are the themes explored?

“Voyage” is my 5th film and may be the last of my productions for some time. While there’re far more films I want to make, a lot of things are pointing to at least a break.

 Like many hinging their passions on art and love, I used to live dangerously with depression for long. There were periods when I could neither plan nor commit to anything weeks away. Departures of loved ones complicated the feelings, and prompted me to make a film out of such unspeakable mental and spiritual statuses.

Starting with my own experience and those confided to me, “Voyage” was then enriched by profound stories from my actors, especially Leni Speidel, my leading actress of the film, who even brought her family to realize the unforgettable scenario. As usually I am in debt to artists collaborating with me.

It is worth mentioning that the film appeared to come to own life during the making. While I thought I was making a film of suicide and other premature deaths, I found myself shooting more and more after life scenes and it unfolded to me in the editing room to be a very different film, one that unveils the subconscious or unconscious of the film maker’s desperation to look beyond the supposing end of life.

Is life a dream, an imagination, or just a projection of our wishes? “Voyage” is for those who rather believe there being no end to the voyage of life, and is dedicated to the people who have departed but have never left our hearts.


2. It is also your first film, as we understand it, to be shot entirely in English? What are your motivations for doing an English language film, and how does the language relate to the story in the film?

 I shot the film in English because it is a more universal topic and story than my earlier works. It may be more convenient to my European and American audiences while the impact to Chinese audiences are minimal. It is slightly easier for me to make as majority of the cast is English speaking, though the film has very little dialogue anyway.


3. Audiences have come to expect controversial themes like homosexuality, rape and incest in your previous outings. How will Voyage be different from the others, and do you expect to raise even more eyebrows?

 I guess i will always meet the expectations of my audiences on new, controversial themes, for I reckon that being an important value of mine. The scenes of various spectacular deaths may raise many eyebrows but the profound meanings behind are what I wish can be revealed to my audiences, albeit in an atypical way.


4. It looks like a significant part of Voyage will be taking place on the sea or in water. Do you find an artistic quality to this medium that you feel or felt you had to explore? How does the setting in Voyage help to shape the overall look and feel in the film?

Indeed I have a deep obsession with sea, the absolute isolation and freedom. There is a psychologic test that says your feeling to the sea is your perception to life. I guess I was the first to shoot on the circular rafts, an unique scene of Hong Kong beaches, in my first two films, with totally naked boys and girls of course. The vessel the leading man sails on in “Voyage” is a moving version of that fantasy.


5. A lone voyage out at sea. Stories about departed people…. There seems to be an emphasis on the themes of isolation and possibly loneliness in Voyage. Is that what you intended?

Absolutely, and the helplessness, the freedom, the despair, the unrestrained imaginations in a confined dungeon that is so perfect an analogy of life…


 6. Another theme that is clearly portrayed in Voyage has got to be depression. Do you have any personal experiences with depression, either in yourself or people that you know? How do you think depression affects people? How does it affect the lead character in Voyage? 

 I have never been really acquainted with anyone not depressed, and depressed people live in a different world from those who are so lucky and also so pathetically unlucky to be out of it. People like the lead character in the film want to have their ironic stories heard, and I am doing exactly that thru “Voyage”.




Monday, January 19, 2015



 HERE is a TRUE STORY of LOVE, COURAGE and REDEMPTION to stir your heartbeat.


He is this persistent photographer from NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC who never says die.


Count in one wayward girl, four deadbeat camels and one loyal (I go-where-you-go) dog banding together to go on a long treacherous trek across the heat-defying Australian desert.






Count in one wayward girl, four deadbeat camels and one loyal (I go-where-you-go) dog banding together to go on a long treacherous trek across the heat-defying Australian desert.

This is indeed a true story.

If you seek, you’ll find that it can be an an uplifting film for any aesthetic soul.

I am not about to wax lyrical about the loads of unpretentious scenes demonstrating animal loving, a potent score that complements the the mood following the courageous heroine’s lone voyage of self-discovery and her desire to be left alone.

The Director-of-Photography harnesses a splendid job in bringing us stunning visuals that bedazzle the eye, specially of the Australian of simple aborigines dwelling in the desert with no expectations except waiting for a better life.

“TRACKS” is directed by John Curran and for what it’s worth, let us first reckon with the amazing plot assemble.

Director John Curran (The Painted Veil and We Don’t Live Here Anymore) and the producers of THE KING’S SPEECH are largely responsible for TRACKS, which depicts a heartwarming  true story of Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska), a young woman who leaves her life in the city to make a solo trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert. Will she survive the odds stacked against her?

Accompanied by her loyal dog (with endless bundles of love) and four unpredictable camels, she sets off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. She is a rude and an obnoxious loner, as far as the film will show us.

Along the way, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) who starts to photograph her voyage.

She is this hare-brained young woman from Sydney with an audacious goal: to walk alone with camels from the center of Australia heading west across 2,ooo miles of desert and sacred aboriginal territory as far as to the Indian Ocean.

Thrilling and bewildering, TRACKS matches the true grit experiences of the headstrong independent 25-year-old Robyn Davidson, who set off in 1975 through stunning landscape and horrific conditions to boot.

The film is a close insight into her persistent and gradual connection with animals, indigenous people, and the kindness of good people she meets along the way.

Director John Curran and actress Mia Wasikowska,who throws herself into the role embodying the feisty Davidson. 

The character embraces both loneliness and strength, and is the kind of character a first-rate actress should harness.


Count in one wayward girl, four deadbeat camels and one loyal (I go-where-you-go) dog banding together to go on a long treacherous trek across the heat-defying Australian desert.

If she can do it, so can I?

I really doubt I have the courage, but thank you very much!

Rate: 4 out of 5

Local Distributor: GSC MOVIES

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "The REWRITE". Do You Need to re-write your Life?

rewrite poster


There are TWO kinds of ReWRITE in meaning.



He is broke and is unable to pay his rent and alimony. So Keith (Hugh Grant) reluctantly accepts a job teaching screenwriting at a local university in Binghamton.


“Now, Class … I  must stress that WRITING is an ART and YOU must have an inborn TALENT for it.”


“I STILL SETTLE FOR WOMEN CLOSER TO MY AGE … They are gifted and … hmmm… more sexually experienced!”


 “She’s my type … hmmm… sexy and lithesome.”


“If for anything else, this spring chicken can curb my horny day blues!”


“In my Younger Days, I amassed countless AWARDS for my SCRIPTS.”



LIFE can be painted as a horror story, only if you ever allow it to be. (moan).

Not all days are gonna be sunshine days, right?

Not when you are approaching middle-age, with a few extra lines piled unceremoniously upon your forehead.

Maybe your looks are fading, along with your self-esteem. Maybe your bosom buddies don’t root for you like they used to. Maybe you’ve been mortified as a piece of old “over the hill” junk ” stacked with a dish of bitter-sweet memories. Maybe …. (more maybe’s …)

If the aforementioned happens to you, hold on, in life you give yourself a wake-up call.

You hear an inner voice beckoning you, “Don’t moon, just get your ass up and do something about re-writing your life story.

Does this little episode seem like a page from a movie script?

Well, yes!

Life can be a sweet song throttling from your pet canary.

But this story is for real, about a university lecturer (my friend) who stumbles in life badly, eons ago and who picked up the tethers and carried on with his life with all the dignity he can muster.


Show me the way, Okay?


Life can be a yoyo, swinging towards whichever direction you throw.

Screenwriter Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) reminisces once-in-a-while over his past glories when he was on top of the world.

He has won the Golden Globe Award for best screenplay eons ago and even had a hit movie to his name. He was once happily married and life then was pure bliss.  But that was fifteen years ago: now, he’s 50+, totally divorced, broke, and hasn’t written a single screenplay for ages. He is now forgotten material.

Luckily, his agent found him a job, to teach screenwriting in a university within the quiet town of Binghamton.

Hopping to give minimal attention to his teaching duties and to focus on writing his new script instead, his attitude slowly begins to change when he meets adult student Holly (Marisa Tomei).

 She is a single mum working two jobs to earn her degree. Soon the pair of star-crossed lovers find themselves embracing solace for a second chance at love.

Meanwhile she has  a fell-out with a fellow colleague, a Jane Austen specialist (Allison Janney) who dislikes his gallivanting lifestyle and totally disapproves of him bedding an amorous student.

“Too much wine, not enough cheese,” he later conveniently explains to ward off misinterpretation of text.

 Go watch this movie that shows you that the teaching profession may be a breeding ground for loners. 

Now, are you LONESOME tonight?

 RATING: 3.5 out of 5


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

HONG KONG FILM DIRECTOR SCUD shares his dark days of fighting.DEPRESSION.


SCUD: “I used  to live precariously, harboring latent signs of DEPRESSION

Those were dark periods where I cannot plan or work.  I was fighting my inner demons. 

Departures of loved ones fueled painful feelings of loss. 

I therefore decided to make my “VOYAGE”遊 film project addressing how  mental angst can wreck a person’s life.”

Watch this space for SCUD's PART 1  heartfelt interview real soon.

Monday, January 5, 2015



“SEX? Oh yeah!”

The Filmmaker called the movie “LOVE ON THE CLOUD”. It’d have been grammatically correct if it had been titled “LOVE ON CLOUD 9″. The positioning product is a nutty and “feel good” sexual comedy that joyfully strips away the entertainment facade to expose that filmmakers and artistes, irrespective of the beautiful and the ugly, all harbor sexual desires. And truth be told, it is one thing to crave for sex, yet another to catch this elusive love bug.  Can love blossom from one-night-stands? You be the guest!


ANGELA BABY and MICHAEL CHEN exude a magnetic  onscreen presence. Watch how the sexual sparks fly!


Our male lead is on the prowl as the night wears on, and he is going for a “WeChat” date. Sex anticipated.


“Look, I have brought my condom ….”


“Yes, sir! I am exercising my male libido to get my pecker rock hard.” 


 Angelababy plays an “anything goes” model looking for one-night stands. She and Michael Chen meet each other through Michael’s mobile “WeChat” app. She then discovers that Michael is a writer- director wannabe.


This Hawaiian Hula dance is as sensual as you can get …


“She’s hot, sultry and everything you need to set the pecker-in-the-loin rising ….” 


This is a fun movie not to be taken seriously. If for anything else, go watch it because sweetie pie Angelababy is the lead actress.

It throws some light on how desperadoes in the entertainment industry pitch for financing. And having won the pitch, they have to pay the humiliating price of foregoing originality, as everything evolves around money and sex.

It is also declares an unexpected romance that blossoms amid this digital age of mobile connectivity.

‘Love on the Cloud’  “makes no bones” about headlining how financiers and sponsors in this industry are untrustworthy and lecherous. 

The  lead protagonist is Sha Guo (Chen He), an aspiring screenwriter whose latest screenplay is titled ‘Lone Wolf in the Wilderness’.

In the opening scene, Sha Guo pitches his creative idea to a wealthy investor named Mrs Ma.  She displays enthusiasm in investing $8 million to have the script churned into into a feature film, but on one principal condition – she owns a cattle farm in Inner Mongolia and anticipates to relocate the scenery to the cattle farm. 

Blinded with elation that anyone would even bother with their independent project, Sha Guo with his two cronies – one an actor named Xiao Gua (Zhang Luyi) and the other a cinematographer named Chen Xi, thereby form a team named ‘Three Dreamers’.  

They rent a studio apartment  and begin writing the plot that their investor wants to see.

This is where the merry-go-round dance begins where the client demands illogical changes, thereby destroying the original concept.

What started out as a writer’s dream transcends into a blinding thriller, much to Sha Guo’s chagrin.

You can well imagine that every revision is reinforced by the promise of a bigger investment, until of course it gets so huge that Sha Guo, together with his buddies are all knocked out of the entire project by a consortium of side investors that Mrs Ma had cunningly assembled.

Yes, this is a grim warning for wannabe filmmakers in China, that neither Gu nor his friends are eventually credited with or for the final product.

Even so, everything turns out to what they have never expected, the new script is way too commercialized, and bears no semblance on how the original project had started.


“LOVE ON THE CLOUD” has a pretty cast AngelaBaby and Micheal Chen.

They are beckoning to us that it’s great to be young.

It probably is, given the hard fact a flood of our leading men are ageing and the industry now needs fresh young blood. Hurrah!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Local Distributor: GSC MOVIES.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

HONG KONG FILM DIRECTOR "SCUD". I Respect People and I am Careful where I Tread.


WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Hong Kong Film Director SCUD and this Interview dated March 25, 2012.



(No political undertones, no racial puns. I just mind my own bloody business.)

 “LOVE ACTUALLY SUCKS” 愛很爛 is Hong Kong Director SCUD’s fourth Feature Film. “I am in the STAGE of LIFE where I KNOW what I am DOING and CARE little about REACTIONS.”

It isn’t hard to like this man called SCUD.

He’s disarming, pleasant and unpretentious.


You ask, he answers, always with a ready smile.

 He’s Hong Kong cult film-maker, a master of controversies, a determined builder on his brand of art-house flicks who faces a constant barricade of snooty hypocrites along the way.

He battles on, he has his legion of faithful followers worldwide.

So what if his films often uncovers unbridled indulgence and the darker side of romance?

Just stay away if you are a prude.

SCUD tackles the unbold and challenges the pretentious.

But he will not compromise his beliefs.

He proudly struts his stuff and his body of work borders a fine line between cultural sensitivity and arty politics.

Thought-provoking they may be, but they are stylized with allegorical themes.

You don’t have to look hard to trace a brooding sense of loneliness as he ushers us into his landscape of surrealism, where he goes beyond the rules of artistry reality.

 His latest offering LOVE ACTUALLY SUCKS is highly commercial, not just for its graphic nature, but for the speculation that some of the performers were actually full-on doing it in the film.

“It’s real,” affirms SCUD with a wink.

“You can’t please everybody. I am in the stage of life where I know what I am doing and care little about reactions,” he beams, warming up to the audience adulations and fan celebrations.

His latest offering is “LOVE ACTUALLY SUCKS” where he strikes a gong on the intricate subject of love, sex and decadence.

The film opens on a shocking albeit eye-peeling wedding attended by all the leads in the film.

Metaphorically, every principal guest “wears” a mask, each with an inner story to tell.

You need to strip off the outer layers to extract the hidden, twisted edges of romance:

-  a painter who has more than his palette in mind when he develops lustful feelings for one of his models.

-  a fitness trainer who has a roving eye for young flesh.

-  a lesbian couple whose relationship is put to test when they confront surrealistic versus real life issues.

-  a brother who develops more than brotherly affection for his sister.

-  a deadly love triangle that results in a tragic decapitation.

-  a young male dance instructor who goes beyond waltzing with his  amorous female older student.

All six parables are based on true life cases.

“LOVE ACTUALLY SUCKS” opens in Hong Kong cinemas on 29th March, 2012.

1.  Love Actually Sucks explores… the reality of love and a “darker” side of romance.
What is it about these things that struck a chord with you or attracted you to the

I’ve often been asked by audiences why I don’t write a happier ending to my
films, and my answer is always: “I would if I’ve ever seen one”.

My parents set a perfectly bad example to relationship when both my brother and I
were still small. I’ve then also been a typical loser in love affairs myself therefore
sad (not necessarily bad) romance always resonate with me.

2. Going into the project, was there a certain “effect” or “reaction” you wanted from

People are use to the perception that everybody does everything for a purpose, but
I don’t have one, and that’s why I’m so often misunderstood. I want nothing from
my audiences except that they’d have something to think about walking out of the
cinemas, apart from where to eat and drink.

I think I’m already in the stage of life that I know what I’m doing and care little
about reactions.

3. Has that ever changed or evolved over the course of filming and post-production?

Not really.

4. Love Actually Sucks is an antipode to the typical, overdone “romantic comedy”
movie. By providing stark contrast to the common light-hearted love story, what
did you wish to achieve?

I guess I’ll fill a gap or balance things out a bit. The odd for a real life love to be
successful is way less than that shown in mainstream, commercial films, after all,
so I’m like giving love a fair assessment.

5. What exactly do you think really sets this film apart from others that also discuss
the concept of love?

Should a love be judged by the outcome? Must there be a moral standard in love
of any kind? Should love be celebrated like life anyway, no matter how it goes?
“Love actually…sucks!” is not the only film about sad romance but it’s about 6
of them, and depicts them in the most explicit way possible.

6. What responses or emotions does this movie evoke that others cannot or will not?

I can’t be sure about this but I find the graphic sex scenes and the crystal
transparent thoughts of the roles have stunned many, even some liberal ones.

7. What specific message did you most want to express or “throw out there” with
this film?

Love is life, life as it is.

Life is love, love as it is.

8. Society tends to just look the other way when something is taboo
or “unconventional”. Did you wish to point out the big elephant(s) in the room or
is that just a by product of a different goal?

I don’t have a specific goal such as this. The fact that my films happen to be taboo
and cult is purely from my nature. I just can’t help it, even knowing it makes my
film commercial suicide.

9. Why do you think “forbidden” love is so striking or captivating?

Men are born free. When something is banned, it’s usually a victim to serving
someone else’s selfish purpose. I don’t think any love should be forbidden and the
fact that so many of them are still nowadays angers me.

10. Love exists in a myriad of forms. How or why did you end up deciding to portray
and examine the six relationships in the movie?

They’re all from real life, first of all. The spider had hit the headlines for quite
sometime while the whole city searched for him who hides in the very place
familiar to himself and no one else. The dance teacher case was also of very high
profile. The painter/model story happened in Taiwan when I was promoting a
film there, was amazed and intrigued to see the final verdict. The lesbian couple is
inspired by my lady friends who may kill me when they see it. I am most touched
and sympathetic with the brother and sister case, and that story also causes me
most trouble with censorship and over a year of delay in releasing.

I added the opening, banquet scene in almost the last minute, after learning it from
a friend who happened to be there. It was hailed as the most ridiculous opening
ever in a film festival in US. I’ve been fed up with irony in life to the extent that I
begin to like them.

11. Love Actually Sucks pushes the boundaries of the definition of “love” and
challenges audiences to question what “love” really is. What aspects of these six
stories do exactly that?

Love is breathtaking because it’s insane in nature. I reckon people not in love or in
a more subdued, carefree relationship are happier most of the time, but yet some
find passion the only thing worth living for.

I think when we fall in love it’s not because we think it’s the right thing to do. It’s
not a job interview or home searching. Love just dawns on us and we’re actually
dragged by it, even if knowing how much is at stake. Those are the kind of love
in “Love actually…sucks!”, in stark contrast to the conventional relationship built
upon material considerations more than anything. I personally don’t call those
loves, just transactions.

12. All six romances were (arguably) doomed from the start. What is it about
the “star crossed lover” that is perfect for what you are trying to say?

I would say ill-fated romances are usually more spectacular, and that’s when
art should come in to represent them. Would love always prevail? Bullshit! But
should love be judged by the outcome like almost everything else? Certainly not.
However doomed it has been, one in love before has lived his life fuller.

13. On a personal level, how well do you connect or relate to your characters and the
situations they are in?

When I was younger and in love, the magnitude could be like that experienced
by the spider trio, and I’d find all the ways like the sister who loves her brother,
and endure like the lesbian policewoman. As I grow older, I can sense the kind of
helpless of the painter/trainer more, as the temptation of youth always take power.
Eventually I think I’d resort to the loneliness of the Queen who can only live on
memory and expectation of an after life.