WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Hong Kong Film Director SCUD and this Interview dated March 25, 2012.
IT’S ALL ABOUT ART, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
(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 project?
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 audiences?
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?
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.