Posted by Danwei on Friday, June 18, 2010 at 12:55 PM
This article is contributed by the Spanish website Zaichina
Interview with Sam Voutas, director of the new film Red Light Revolution
The teaser is also available here － unblocked version.
The Australian director Sam Voutas has done almost everything in China: documentaries (The Last Breadbox, Shanghai Bride, Dragon Sons, Phoenix Daughters), acting (City of Life and Death) and dubbing (East Wind Rain). His latest project is “a fun and rebelious” movie about a Beijinger that decides to open a sexshop to be successful in contemporary China.
Still in post-production, the teaser of Red Light Revolution (红灯梦) hit the Internet last week and has arisen many questions among the expats and Chinese who watched it. The movie is going to be promoted at film festivals as a "Chinese Comedy like you have never seen before."
Question: How did the project start?
Q: What is the story about?
Q: Is it in the end a love story in contemporary China?
Q: Then, why the sex shop?
I think a lot of people in the West just see three hour long dramas about something incredibly serious or about Kungfu and other traditional Chinese movies. But China doesn't always have to be serious. With China, it seems that one movie always has to encapsulate the whole nation, which is impossible. I wanted to make a movie that I'd like to see. A movie in Chinese that when I finish my work at the end of the day, I can have dinner, watch it and have fun. And I enjoy that. I do that with Japanese movies, or Korean movies, because they are much more entertaining, but in many movies here, especially independent movies, the mentality is not that much fun, it´s missing the fun. That's why I really wanted to put that scene on the trailer when he puts the dildo on his head, because it's fun, and you know that it's infectious.
Q: That's why you say in the teaser that it is a Chinese comedy like you've never seen before...
Q: What was the reaction of Chinese actors to the project?
Q: Is everyone in the crew Chinese?
Q: What were their reactions to the sex toys?
Q: From the teaser it seems the film has a feeling of old Beijing, you can see lots of hutongs and the old parts of the city.
We shot the movie near Dongsishitiao. Well, the shop is in Dongsishitiao. We also shot in the bar D-22, and also a lot in Caochangdi, which is sort of an art district almost in the countryside.
Q: Last year the movie Kung Fu Panda ignited a debate in the Chinese media about why a national symbol such as the panda was made fun of and was interesting to foreigners. Many wondered why that kind of movie hasn't been made by Chinese people. With your movie it could be the same situation, it looks like a film that Chinese people needed to make, but in the end it is an Australian director who had the idea and shot it. Why is that?
Q: Do you think it will have any problems with Chinese authorities and censorship?
Q: What about the title? I guess the Chinese title Hongdengmeng 红灯梦 has a connection with the classic novel Dream of the Red Chambers (红楼梦).
I spent a lot of time researching the title. It's also related to the Red Light District, which is a phrase that´s used in Chinese as well (Hongdengqu, 红灯区).
Q: What about the music of the movie? It seems it´s all rock-and-rolll contemporary Chinese music, with bands like Bigger Bang, Radiohip or I Love This Band.
Q: The movie is in post-production right now. What is the next step? Where can we watch the movie?
I've made this movie to be played in the cinemas, that´s my goal. Whether it's in America or China, I don't know.
But obviously I also know that nowadays the number of people who get their entertainment from the cinemas, and especially in China, it's actually very small. So if we can get it on DVD it would also be good as the movie is a little bit naughty and it lends itself well to DVD.
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.