River of Exploding Durians - Trailer 【榴梿忘返】 预告片
《榴槤忘返》主要讲述一群中六生面对即将袭来的稀土厂一阵慌乱，人生产生了变化之余，在反对稀土厂的过程中，这群学生产生革命情感和一些单纯的爱慕情怀。A coastal town is turned upside down by the construction of a radioactive rare earth plant. An idealistic teacher and a group of high school students find themselves battling for the soul of their hometown. Based on real-life events, River of Exploding Durians is a sweeping tale of Malaysian history and its youth, where people are enveloped by politics and sadness while searching for love. #riverofexplodingduriansStarring: Zhu Zhi-Ying 朱芷瑩, Koe Shern 高圣, Daphne Low, Joey 梁祖仪Written, directed and edited by Edmund YeoProduced by Woo Ming Jin and Edmund Yeo Executive producer: Eric YeoDirector of Photography: Kong PahurakProduction designer: Edward Yu Chee BoonMake-up and wardrobe: Kay WongSound: Minimal Yossy PrapapanMusic: Woan Foong WongPosted by River of Exploding Durians 榴莲忘返 on Saturday, October 18, 2014
Sunday, March 30, 2008
我并非否定记忆的重要性, 只不过觉得最好的不一定在过去. 就忽略了现在. 而且, 如果我不相信明天会更好,那么就太没意思了.
After viewing the trailer (I was already giggling at the 'romantic' scenes between Leon Lai and Kelly Chen), and reading its early reviews in Hong Kong, I was already expecting the worst from AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS. Directed by Tony Ching Siu Tung (he often works as an action choreographer and is Zhang Yimou's frequent collaborator, working on the action scenes in HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS and CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, he was also behind the badass martial arts scene in the godly Bollywood superhero flick KRRISH), starring Donnie Yen, Kelly Chen and Leon Lai, AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS is the kind of film you need to avoid if you were seriously looking for a good film to watch.
Seriously, the trailer of THREE KINGDOMS: RESURRECTION OF THE DRAGON starring Andy Lau, Maggie Q (yummy) and Sammo Hung that played before EMPRESS had me even more excited than the entire film of the latter.
Yet I watched the film with wry amusement, seeing how Kelly Chen acted a storm with her perpetual frowning. And noting how out-of-place Leon Lai had often looked in period films (SEVEN SWORDS had already shown me that), and then waiting forward to another glorious Donnie Yen lovefest scene which have him looking more and more badasser (there are lots of scenes like that, the final battle scene left me in giggling fits despite its over-the-top pathos). It's almost like watching an in-joke unfold before my eyes. I didn't have a miserable time in the cinema, really.
Leon Lai and Donnie Yen seem to be in different films. One to deliver the farcical romantic subplot with Kelly Chen, the other to showcase his broody manliness in angsty and fighting scenes. Both of these guys seldom appear in the same scene together (only two scenes, I counted) Of course, Kelly Chen's empress character seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder too: With Leon, she's a lovesick fumbling schoolgirl, with Donnie, she's a tormented soul. My mind wandered a lot when watching the film, I mentally recasted the film, I suddenly thought of ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, which, suddenly, to me, was very awesome compared to this, I then felt that I may have been a little unfair towards THE WARLORDS, since the film was really much more accomplished than this. But then, I realized that it was unfair of me to compare the film with those.
Silently, I felt a slight pang of regret that this film would be the last Chinese film I watch in the cinemas before going to Japan.
I have to say that the pacing of the film was relatively swift, something would always happen just when I was about to start feeling bored. I also have to admit that some of the shots were really nice to look at, almost like something from a Kelly Chen music video. It has good art direction, the armours looked cool (that's why I immediately took photos of them when I saw them being exhibited in Hong Kong) There's also an out of place cheesy pop love song thrown in during the much talked-about Titanic-esque hot-air balloon scene.
So nope, your life won't be any different if you miss this film.
Go read the Visitor's review on Twitch.
Now, the last paragraph after the trailer below is a spoiler, so skip it if you seriously want to watch the film without anything spoiled for you.
AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS trailer
The only time I experienced emotions while watching the film is definitely Leon Lai's death. It was stupid. (my reaction was "WHAAAAT? HE'S GOING TO DIE NOW?????") I was expecting him to join in the last battle as well, in fact, throughout the final battle, I was expecting him to pop out to save the day. He never did. Jeez, at least Donnie Yen had a much more glorious death scene.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The recent lack of blog updates had a lot to do with my impending departure for Japan. I've received the MEXT scholarship to further my film studies as a research student (will probably do my Masters') at Waseda University in Tokyo.
I'll be leaving next Tuesday.
Yes, on April Fools' Day.
I've kept a relatively low-profile on this, because I have a feeling not many will believe that I'm leaving for Japan on that very day. The sad thing is, even if I were to send text messages to friends saying goodbye, most will think that I'm pulling off a prank.
After more than a year here in Malaysia, I'm returning to university life. This is by no means a surprise, since I've actually applied for the scholarship at this time last year, and have undergone its numerous painstaking procedures over the months.
No, I don't know Japanese at all, so I'll be learning the language for the rest of this year before I actually begin my studies.
While I've asked my friend, Hui Jing to take over the reins of Greenlight Pictures during my absence, I'm most likely continuing my producing duties despite being in another country. So you won't hear the last of Greenlight Pictures from me. I'll still be scheming and plotting something new. And since I've gotten into a nice productive and creative streak this year, it's likely that I will make another short film when I'm there.
The past few days had been a blur. Visiting the Japanese Embassy, meeting friends and saying goodbye, wrapping up some of my Greenlight duties in Malaysia, and the non-stop fine-tuning of CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY (I've shown numerous people numerous cuts of the film and am still trying to make it as good as possible, I think I'll still be working on it even when I am in Tokyo) It's almost strange that after three more nights, I'll be flying off.
During my two and a half years in Perth, I've made numerous Japanese friends, so I'm not going to be totally alone in Japan. There are people I can seek out in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I'll probably try to go to Hokkaido by the end of this year, or if possible, Shirakawa-go, a beautiful little village I spent an all-to-brief one night at nearly nine years ago.
Speaking of which, the last time I celebrated Christmas in Japan was ten years ago.
Besides the current Japanese Prime Minister, other noted alumni of Waseda University include (copying and pasting from Wikipedia, obviously, and I'm including only the business leaders and authors cos the list is too long):
* Hiroshi Yamauchi, President of Nintendo
* Masaru Ibuka, co-founder of Sony
* Michael Kogan, founder of Taito Corporation
* Nobuyuki Idei, ex-CEO of Sony
* Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, founder of Seibu Railway
* Lee Byung-chul, Founder of Samsung (dropout)
* Isao Okawa, ex-chairman of Sega
* Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung
* Shin Kyuk-Ho, founder and Chairman of Lotte Group
* Takeo Fukui, CEO of Honda
* Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Fast Retailing-Uniqlo
* Kenichi Ohmae, founder and ex-Senior Partner of McKinsey & Co's Japan office
* Mikio Sasaki, chairman of Mitsubishi
* Soichiro Fukutake, president of Benesse
* Park Tae-joon, Founder and Chairman of Pohang Iron & Steels Corp, POSCO
* Edogawa Rampo
* Haruki Murakami, novelist, translator, writer, recipient of Franz Kafka Prize
* Ichirō Ōkouchi
* Kitahara Hakushu (dropout)
* Kunikida Doppo
* Hiroyuki Yoshino
* Lee Hoesung
* Taku Miki, poet, novelist, translator
* Manabu Miyazaki (dropout)
* Masuji Ibuse (dropout)
* Yoko Ogawa, novelist
* Ototake Hirotada (sports writer)
* Shuji Terayama
* Taneda Santoka (dropout)
* Yoko Tawada
* Tawara Machi
* Yajima Teruo (dropout)
* Yokomitsu Riichi (dropout)
* Risa Wataya
I'm curious to know whether Risa Wataya is still studying at Waseda or not. She seems pretty low-profile these days.
And the dorm I'm going to stay in for now is the same dorm Haruki Murakami was at. Oh the irony. :D
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Swiftly we prepared to do the scenes with Darren and Magessan together. I burst into the room in dramatic fashion while Erna was practising with the two guys. Darren was in the midst of doing a fake but shrill-sounding laugh.
"All right, as you may know already, this scene is simple, our poor James Bond will find himself being tickle tortured by the sadistic Dr Bhol Le." I explained. "And James Bond will laugh within the inch of his life."
I paused and held up the two feathers Erna bought for me.
"But you don't have to worry about that. You're really going to get tickled."
"He's not ticklish." Magessan said. Darren nodded.
"WHAT? How could this be?" I exclaimed, the two feathers in my hand went limp immediately.
"But I can fake it!" Darren said.
After spending most of the 23 years of my life being so ticklish, I was thrown off by the idea of someone not being ticklish...
My article for the March 2008 issue of PC.com Magazine, THE NOKIA N95 FILMMAKING ADVENTURES is out and it chronicles how I made FROM BHOL LE WITH LOVE, the intro video of this January's PC.com Awards Night.
From Bhol Le With Love
PC.com Magazine is available at bookshops near you. (Malaysia only) Go buy it!
The article was posted on this blog in three separate parts a few months ago. You can check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Friday, March 21, 2008
19th of March began early because I had to rush to the HK Convention and Exhibition Center (HKCEC) for the KURUS (Days of the Turquoise Sky) screening at 10am. Despite being really early, and neither of the booths at Filmart were open, I managed to invite a few FINAS representatives to watch the film with me. Really appreciated their support, and was happy to have new friends like them.
Once the screening was over, I started exploring the Filmart, and had the opportunity to meet other film producers and film festival programmers. It took me a while before I realized that I didn't manage to take any photos the day before, so I immediately snapped some quick ones of the impressive-looking booths of the event.
The Red Cliff posters looked cool.
So does Painted Skin, the 4th Wilson Yip-directed Donnie Yen-starrer.
It would turn out that I didn't really take any photos of myself except for one below, when a friendly booth girl I was chatting with suggested that we should take a photo together.
While we chatted, she suggested to me that I should go to the Ladies' Street in Mong Kok to buy souvenirs and stuff. I ended up really doing that right after the HAF Awards Ceremony. HAF is where filmmakers and producers pitch their projects and hope they can get funding. The one who ended up winning for the most promising project is one of my new heroes of HK cinema, Edmond Pang:
Would've wanted to take a photo with him which I can name 'Edmund and Edmond', but didn't have the chance.
I left HKCEC right after the ceremony, foregoing the chance to watch Hong Sang Soo's NIGHT AND DAY because I decide that I need to explore HK more as my time there was short. And I needed to buy souvenirs as well.
Before taking the MTR at the Causeway Bay station below Times Square shopping mall, I did what many suggested. Try out the Krispy Kreme donuts.
It was bloody awesome.
And I then made my way to Mong Kok, the atmospheric place famous for being portrayed in countless HK triad films, like YOUNG AND DANGEROUS, AS TEARS GO BY, ONE NITE IN MONGKOK etc.
I had been to Mong Kok during my previous trips in HK, but never at night. So I had never been to the LADIES' STREET, which really reminds me of the night markets I went to in Taiwan, and Petaling Street.
Navigating through the sea of humanity in Mong Kok was quite a chore, the streets were swarmed with people, unsurprising, according to Guinness World Records, Mong Kok has the highest population density in the world (mean 130,000 per km2). Managed to buy lots of stuff for other people, but needed to do lots of haggling. Happy to finally get myself a new paper fan (yes, I'm actually a collector of paper fans and tend to carry one around during a shoot).
Left Hong Kong the next day with a heavy heart, hope it won't take another six years for me to return. At the airport, as I headed to my gate, I saw jazz musicians and two women dressed up as bunnies giving out Easter eggs.
Would be cool if there were more bunny women in the airport, and that they don't appear only during Easter's.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Not knowing what to do, I took another walk back to Causeway Bay, and ended up at another traditional Hong Kong restaurant for brunch.
This time, I have the famous roast goose (+ roast pork) rice.
It's delicious, though the portion's pretty damned big. Have to also say that no other place has milk tea as good as Hong Kong's!
Now, before I let this whole blog post degenerate into another one of those generic pretty girl blogs with patterns that alternate between photos of food they eat, photos of them clubbing, photos of stuff they bought and photos of them camwhoring, I'll shift back to what I'm really here for, the Hong Kong International Film Fest.
The hospitality center opened at 3pm, and I was shocked to find out from them that while the festival wasn't having its opening until today, the Filmart (Hong Kong International Film & TV Market) of the Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum HAD already started the day before. Immediately I took a cab to the HK Convention and Exhibition Center, I had feared that KURUS (known to the rest of the world as DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY, but I'll still refer to it as KURUS) had already been screened without me.
Reaching the Filmart, I was blown away by the amount of media companies that had exhibition booths there. It's really a who's who of Asian entertainment, not just films but also TV.
Then with the help of a French Chinese-lady I befriended, I realized that my fears were confirmed, KURUS was indeed screened the day before, without my presence. It was ridiculous, I seethed silently. The film screened at 2 to 4pm on Monday, WHY was I invited to the event on the very same day. Hell, I hadn't even reached my hotel on 4pm Monday.
Not wanting to let this slide past, I decided to seek the organizers, and voiced out the situation. That an industry screening of a film was held despite the absence of its producer. The girl was understanding, and immediately arranged another screening for me.
So yes, the film will screen again tomorrow. Yay. Ming Jin should thank me for that.
Anyway, thanks to my new French-Chinese lady friend, I also scored myself an invitation card to another opening film of the festival, SHALL WE KISS? A French film, and also its following cocktail party.
I went to the premiere of legendary Japanese director Yoji Yamada's new film, KABEI - OUR MOTHER. A very wonderfully made film that faltered only in the last few scenes of the film. It was a depressing film that felt genuine at first because of the dazzling performances of the cast members, especially the two young girls, but somehow, the ending felt out of place and slightly dampened the greatness of the film.
The Opening Ceremony/ Cocktail Party of the 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival began after that. There were loads of reporters:
And they were interviewing Sammi Cheng, the ambassador of the festival.
I had initially wanted to take a photo with her, but I saw a woman approaching Sammi and being turned away by a security guy as Sammi had requested specifically not take photos with others.
And this is a photo of director Yoji Yamada and actor Asano Tadanobu onstage to give a speech for the ceremony.
After that, I took a photo with with the lead actors of the Taiwanese film SOUL OF A DEMON, Tseng Yi-Che and Chen Pei-Chun.
I also approached Asano Tadanobu when the ceremony ended to shake his hand.
"Asano-san, I thought your performance in KABEI was beautiful!" I gushed.
"Thank you." He said very politely.
And we took a photo.
After that, I sneaked into the last five minutes of SHALL WE KISS? (nice ending) and then took a shuttle bus to its cocktail party.
Took a photo with Emmanuel Moiret, director and star of SHALL WE KISS?
As I was about to leave the party, I saw Harvey Weinstein near the exit, talking to a few people. Then I turned and saw another familiar face, Terence Yin, and Hong Kong actor whose countless works I've seen and was totally awesome in the mockumentary FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS.
"Hi, I'm Edmund." I introduced myself.
"Heya, I'm Terrence." He said.
"Haha, I know who you are! Can I take a photo with you?"
We did. His friend took the photo for us.
I chatted with him for a little while, I lamented the fact that I couldn't really enjoy events like this because I don't drink.
"That's good! You're saving yourself a lot of trouble!!" He said. "Just soldier on and don't care what others say!"
"YEAH!" I was pumped. He's such a cool guy!
Then I ran into fellow Malaysian filmmaker Chris Chong, who was seemingly seeking funding for his new feature-length film.
I left moments later, taking a cab with two people I just met at the taxi stand. One a film commissioner of the Korean Film Commission, another is the producer of famed and highly-regarded Korean director Hong Sang Soo's new film NIGHT AND DAY. I told the latter that I would attend her screening tomorrow, after KURUS is screened. I'll see whether I'll be able to make it.
And so I got back, and here I am again, at the hotel lobby, the only place with free wireless Internet access. Some lights have been switched off, but there are one or two other night owls like me, sitting in the distance, surfing the net on their laptops.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Then Monday came, and I was suddenly on a plane to Hong Kong for the 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival. KURUS (known outside Malaysia as DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY, but I'll still refer to it as KURUS in the post cos' it's shorter) had been invited to the festival and will be having its world premiere under the Asian Digital Competition (fellow Malaysian film, FLOWER IN THE POCKET is also competing in this category). The short film BLUE ROOF, which I also had a hand in producing and editing, has also been invited to the festival as well. I'm excited because this marks my first time in a film festival since last September in Chile (read my brilliantly written memoirs of that trip here).
But I'm actually here for the HONG KONG - ASIA FILM FINANCING FORUM (HAF), which is held in conjunction with the film festival, and I'm invited as producer of KURUS.
Aside from hearing that there would be some industry screenings, I don't really know much about the HAF. I tried asking some festival staffers and they couldn't tell me much either cos HAF actually had a different group of staff and neither of the HAF people were here.
I'm now staying at Cosmopolitan Hotel (... god, it took nearly an hour and a half to get there from the airport via shuttle bus!) and it's a pretty nice-looking hotel. This is my room.
The 2nd Asian Film Awards was held tonight and I was slightly bummed out cos' I cannot score an invitation to the awards event despite the fact that the AFA, HKIFF and HAF are sister companies. (I would later watch the live telecast instead) So, I ended taking a walk at Wan Chai near my hotel, soaking in the scenery and environment. Very crowded place, bustling with energy, the last time I came to Hong Kong was 6 years ago and my memories of it have been hazy.
I ended up eating beef noodles at your traditional HK restaurant.
After walking around and even checking out the Times Square shopping mall. Saw armours from the upcoming film THE EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS starring Kelly Chen, Leon Lai and Donnie Yen:
I made my way back to the hotel, and saw roadside stalls.
There had been fear of bird flu outbreak, yet I cannot resist the temptation of trying out food at places like that. I don't know, I might want to go try it during the few days I'm here.
I'm managed to secure myself an invitation to the premiere of legendary Japanese director Yoji Yamada's latest film, KABEI - OUR MOTHER for tomorrow, just before the festival's opening cocktail. I'm looking forward to attending it.
Will keep you all updated about my adventures in Hong Kong. Quite a hassle that I can't really surf in my own room (have to pay an outrageous amount for that), only the hotel lobby has free wi-fi.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Pardon my lack of updates. Been rushing with the editing of CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY (production stills are here and here). Need to get it done before I fly off to Hong Kong on Monday.
Went to film some cutaways with Lesly The Cinematographer today. After getting some stunning shots from an alley and a park nearby, I needed shots from a PS2 football video game, but to my horror, neither of my FIFA or WINNING ELEVEN games were around. So Lesly and I headed to Amcorp Mall to make some quick purchases of these games.
Reaching the one and only videogame shop of the mall, I saw a man standing outside, taking photos. I dismissed the guy as some wannabe camera enthusiast, or annoying tourist, and immediately walked into the shop, flipping through the folders of PS2 games.
I vaguely noticed the photographer calling at me, and then someone approached.
"Dik, boleh keluar sekejap?" (Kid, can you leave the shop for a while?)
"Hm?" I replied. Eyeing the photographer who was looking at me, slightly annoyed that the man had the guts to call me out of the shop just so he could take his precious little photos.
"Kami sedang beroperasi lah." (We're in the middle of an operation)
An operation. An anti-piracy operation. An anti-piracy operation where the games in the shop would all be ransacked.
WHAAAAAAT? In a daze, I exited the shop. Staring helplessly as the men continued their operation. Taking photos, examining the games in the shop.
"How could this be? I need to buy the football games? I came all the way here for nothing?" I whined to Lesly, albeit with more expletives and cursing than written here.
"New State government." Lesly said.
"Nooooo, this isn't what I wanted! Is this what I've voted for? IS THIS?????" I wailed dramatically, also really with more cursing and swearing than written here.
With the new Selangor Chief Minister swearing in today, obviously there will be stronger crackdown on those who defy the laws. Protecting the law and upholding justice, how unexpectedly effective they had become. One by one I saw the games being confiscated, the shop sealed off from customers, and knowing that I have faced an obstacle in fulfilling my creative vision, I felt, faintly, an unspeakable sense of sorrow that enveloped my pitch-black heart.
(Seriously, I'm just amused that I walked into the middle of an anti-piracy operation like this. Yay, anti-piracy rules)
Monday, March 10, 2008
Suanie's blog readers were confounded by this entry of hers where she posted a photo of her in make-up. So I'll reveal the mystery.
Suanie was invited to cameo in the film.
There you go, Make-up Artist Eunice working her magic on Suanie.
Suanie and film producer/ Limkokwing University bigwig Aron Koh were supposed to play 2nd Auntie and 2nd Uncle, younger siblings of the protagonist's mom.
There seem to be some resemblances between Aron and Ming Wei, especially when they smile. Standing on the right is Sound Girl Miharu. Ming Wei had lots of difficulty doing this scene cos my one and only instruction to him was NOT to smile nor laugh. A difficult thing for a kid to do in a comedic scene.
And there's me and Lesly the DP (Director of Photography).
After we were done with Aron and Suanie's scene, we went off to do some scenes of The Boy jotting down notes from his investigation. Using my room as his room.
Once that's done, we headed off to the park near my house, Taman Aman, to film some outdoor scenes, mostly a cheesy and comedic flashback scene of Mom (Kimmy Kiew) and Dad's (Chye Chee Keong) past romance and the origins of the Legendary Chicken Rice
Unfortunately, it started to rain. But we pressed on.
A rare photo of Nikki the photographer.
We also needed to do an introspective scene with The Boy.
Ming Wei was almost scared shitless when I asked him to sit on the railings. So Sound Girl Miharu held him.
... before I yelled "action!"
The last scene we shot was the ending scene (just the way I like it). The rain was pouring heavily and some stalls from the pasar malam (night market) had to close. But I improvised quickly and allow the rain be part of the story instead. We hijacked a table outside a coffee shop, ordered lots of food and drinks, and started filming away.
Last 2 pic of The Boy and his dad.
Hadn't edited the film for 2 days. Was shooting something else on Saturday (yes, during election day). But I'm going to continue working on CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY now that the other video's done.