China’s “Red Light Revolution”

Interview with Sam Voutas, director of “Red Light Revolution“, a Chinese comedy like you’ve never see.

The plot of “Red Light Revolution” from the official Chinese point of view can be considered sensitive. How did you manage to avoid Chinese censorship? Did they change something in the screenplay?

Beware of old men carrying scissors. That’s a good rule, because if they’re carrying scissors, then no matter what is around them, they’re likely to start cutting things out of habit. So you’re talking about a lot of artistic concessions when that happens. I was afraid that afterward, my movie would no longer be my movie, it would no longer say what I wanted to say. And isn’t that the goal of any work, to say something? One person who used to work for the censors told me to change the movie’s topic in order to get it through, he suggested the movie should be about a Beijinger who opens a tea shop. “Green Tea Revolution”. Perhaps I’m stubborn. Besides, censorship is a long and tedious business. If anything, why not take the initiative and censor me to save everyone the meetings and paperwork? I had a radical thought recently that having the movie shown uncut would be nice. I quickly censored that thought and gave myself a thoroughly deserved self-criticism.

Samo Voutas

Red Light Revolution takes place in Beijing. How local people thought about it?

I was surprised at how much fun people had actually. The crew had a great time doing crazy things with the toys between takes, and then everyone involved wanted their own toy as a memento when we wrapped shooting. But then some of the crew didn’t want to choose their toys in front of everyone else, so they waited until no one could see them before choosing.  I think this is a good example of how attitudes are changing. Even outside the set we’d often have pedestrians just peering into the windows. Zhao Jun, our lead actor, even took one of the toys, stuck it to his head like he does in the film’s trailer, and stood out in the hutong, a giant dildo stuck to his head. Construction workers stopped what they were doing and came over to have a look. That was a real hit, it definitely made their day.

Sam Voutas on set

I’ve seen you love Michel Gondry and Stanley Kubrick movies. Did they influence you?

You know it’s interesting, I think both directors shoot really great comedies. That may seem strange to say of Kubrick, who’s associated with more confronting material. But so many of Kubrick’s films are at heart absurd and dark comedies. But I enjoy both directors’ work because they really do push the boundaries with each of their films. And I think that’s really the goal of anybody who does art, to try to push the envelope, if only just a little. Otherwise we’re just in a cycle of constant repetition and regurgitation.

red_light_revolution


Was it difficult to direct a film in Chinese Mandarin?

Absolutely! Directing in English is hard enough, but in Mandarin it was three times as difficult. You lose a lot of the subtleties when it’s not your first language. Like the word “smirk”, I may want to use that word to an actor. Now that word has a real flavour to it in English, but how do I say that in Chinese and still retain the humour? I had a great crew to not only give me support, but who were able to add a lot of the local humour to the film. I’ve found there’s no better way to improve on my Chinese language skills than in a local sex shop with forty cast and crew.

Directing-Doll-Scene

How the Chinese attitude toward sex is changed in the last decades?

Well, when I came here in the 80’s it was a different kettle of fish. Even though I was a boy, I remember that couples didn’t really hold hands outside much, many pedestrians still wore grey socialist outfits, and the most risque foreign movies playing in the cinema were films like “Cannonball Run” with Burt Reynolds. But stuff was changing. I remember seeing Cui Jian play at Maxim’s in the late ’80s, and then some really radical art started emerging, my parents took me to some of those. Then of course in the early ’90s, the adult shops got approved to open. I think that change in China is pretty evident everywhere really. A friend of mine was in a Beijing cab the other day and his driver suddenly turned to him and started saying all these sexually explicit terms in English, really bad swear words. Where did he learn this stuff? On TV? I don’t think so.

red_light_revolution_2

Do you think the movie will be well received by the Chinese audience?

I was in a Beijing sound editing studio yesterday, making changes to the film’s sound. Before long all the technicians came in to watch. They were young graduates from the Beijing Film Academy. They sat down on the couches, just relaxing, laughing, enjoying themselves basically. As a director, that’s pretty much all you can ask for, after all the hard years of work, that total stranger can relate to what you’re saying and understand the humor.

Interview with Melanie Ansley, “Red Light Revolution” producer

red_light_revolution_4

Did you find many difficulties in order to get permission to shoot the movie?

In China it’s not shooting the movie that’s difficult, it’s getting it screened once you’ve shot it.  We found most locations very willing to cooperate, and very few people were concerned about whether we had a screening permit or not.  So in many respects, the system isn’t geared to stop you from shooting what you want, rather it’s the fact that distribution is so tightly controlled that deters many filmmakers.  That said, there’s definitely more than one way to get something done here, you have to think creatively about what you have and who you know, and decide which door to knock on–sometimes it’s not the most obvious one.

In China, isn’t really easy to shoot an independent movie. Was it difficult to pitch the project and get a proper budget?

In some ways, it’s actually easier to shoot an independent movie in China–in our case for two reasons.  One, there’s no government subsidy or film funding body here, so right off the bat, you’re not expecting to walk the road of making applications and waiting for results.  You know that you’re going to have to go private, whether that’s through selling a kidney or finding sponsor companies.  So that forces you to act faster because you aren’t having to schedule in 6 months of waiting for funding decisions.

Second, we had an advantage that we were shooting on a RED camera, and RED hadn’t yet become widely used in Chinese independent film circles; even now there are very few mainstream directors here working in the RED.  This meant that we had a lot of people willing to work with us who would have otherwise not been involved, just because they wanted to gain some hands-on experience with these new cameras.  I’m not sure we would have had the same draw elsewhere since it seems everyone is shooting on RED nowadays.

The movie will be distributed in China?

Though nothing’s certain in filmmaking, I can’t see the “Red Light Revolution” not being distributed in China in some way, shape, or form.  Especially as China invests its movies through non-traditional media like the internet much more than we do in the West.  I have been asked repeatedly by Chinese viewers who’ve come across the teaser when they can see it in cinemas, and I’m currently talking with a few mainland producers about that possibility.

Someone once asked me, “Is China ready for this movie?” I think Chinese audiences are definitely more than ready for this movie, it’s whether the bureaucracy is ready that’s the question.  I won’t deny it’s a challenge, given some of the local requirements, but I believe a little bit of creative thinking gets you far, and maybe we’ll even come up with a new method of distributing movies here along the way.

Interview: Matteo Damiani
Links: Facebook Fan page, Sam Voutas Blog

Poster for the movie "The Killer"

The Killer

Hong Kong’s preeminent director John Woo transforms genres from both the East and the West to create this explosive and masterful action film. Featuring Hong Kong’s greatest star, Chow Yun-fat, as a killer with a conscience, the film is an exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society, highlighted with slow-motion sequences of brilliantly choreographed gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong.

Poster for the movie "The Big Boss"

The Big Boss

Chen is a city boy who moves with his cousins to work at an ice factory. He does this with a family promise never to get involved in any fight. However, when members of his family begin disappearing after meeting the management of the factory, the resulting mystery and pressures force him to break that vow and take on the villainy of the Big Boss.

Poster for the movie "Rumble in the Bronx"

Rumble in the Bronx

Keong comes from Hong Kong to visit New York for his uncle’s wedding. His uncle runs a market in the Bronx and Keong offers to help out while Uncle is on his honeymoon. During his stay in the Bronx, Keong befriends a neighbor kid and beats up some neighborhood thugs who cause problems at the market. One of those petty thugs in the local gang stumbles into a criminal situation way over his head.

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "Naked Weapon"

Naked Weapon

A mysterious woman, known as Madame M, kidnaps forty pre-teen girls and transports them to a remote island to train them as the most deadly assassins. CIA operative Jack Chen follows the case for 6 years with no leads, but when a series of assassinations begin to occur, Jack suspects that Madame M is back in business.

Poster for the movie "Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back"

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back

Tang Monk brings three disciples on a journey to the West. On the outside, everything seems harmonious. However, tension is present beneath the surface, and their hearts and minds are not in agreement. After a series of demon-capturing events, the monk and his disciples gain mutual understanding of each others’ hardships and unease. Finally, they resolve their inner conflict and work together to become an all-conquering, demon-exorcising team.

Poster for the movie "The Mermaid"

The Mermaid

A playboy business tycoon, Liu Xuan, purchases the Green Gulf, a wildlife reserve, for a sea reclamation project, and uses sonar technology to get rid of the sea life in the area. Unknown to him, the Green Gulf is the home of merpeople, and the sonar has caused many of them to succumb to illness or die. Xuan’s business ventures in the area are threatened when he crosses paths with the mermaid, Shan, who is … Read more

Poster for the movie "Life After Life"

Life After Life

A hare is let loose in the forest, a dog gives chase and the boy tears after them, his father in tentative pursuit. Minutes pass, the forest falls silent, and when the boy re-enters the frame, something has changed: he now speaks with the voice of his dead mother. Mingchung shows little surprise at Xiuying’s return, he even asks why she didn’t come earlier. She says she’ll leave again once she’s completed one simple task, … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Eye 2"

The Eye 2

Pregnant Joey (Shu Qi) teeters on the brink of madness after several fruitless suicide attempts. She’s the unwilling recipient of an influx of shadowy images that haunt her pervasively. In an attempt to quell this disturbing phenomenon, she looks up with her secretive ex-lover Sam (Tik Jesadaporn Pholdee), who may be able to shed some light upon the mysterious twilight world descending upon Joey.

Poster for the movie "Cross"

Cross

Poster for the movie "Cross"

Cross (2012)


95 min -
Thriller, Crime, Mystery -
4 October 2012


Your rating:

Not rated yet!


Meet Leonard, a man who will help you die with a smile on your face. A young attorney meets his client for the first time, a serial killer known as the "Smiley Face Killer", whose victims all died with a smile on their faces.

Writers: 
Daniel Chan Yee-Heng

Photos

No images were imported for this movie.

Storyline

Meet Leonard, a man who will help you die with a smile on your face. A young attorney meets his client for the first time, a serial killer known as the "Smiley Face Killer", whose victims all died with a smile on their faces.


Collections:
Daniel Chan Yee-Heng

Tagline:
Meet Leonard, a man who can help you die with a smile on your face...

Details

Country: 
 Hong Kong
Language: 
Cantonese
Release Date: 
4 October 2012

Box Office

Company Credits

Production Companies: 
Fame Universal Entertainment

Technical Specs

Runtime: 
1 h 35 min

Meet Leonard, a man who will help you die with a smile on your face.

Read more

Poster for the movie "The Wonderful Wedding"

The Wonderful Wedding

The Wonderful Wedding is a 2015 Taiwanese comedy film starring Chu Ke-liang, Ruby Lin, Li Dongxue, Kou Hsi-shun and Lin Mei-hsiu. A meet-the-parents-of-fiancee comedy, it pokes fun at the cultural and linguistic differences between Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan and Beijing in northern China. Protective father whose unreasonable obsession with traditions nearly derails his daughter’s wedding.

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "Breakup Buddies"

Breakup Buddies

Recently cuckolded and reeling from a messy divorce, a hapless former singer hits the road – and the bar – with his all-too-helpful best bud, in this hilarious romantic comedy.

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "Cell Phone"

Cell Phone

Written by Liu Zhenyun, based on his own novel of the same title, the film revolves around two successful men whose marriages were wrecked when their wives uncovered their extramarital affairs through traces left in their cellphones. More broadly, the film explores the role of cellphones in interpersonal relationships in modern China, where the rapid development in information technology is having huge impacts on the way people communicate.

Poster for the movie "Infernal Affairs III"

Infernal Affairs III

Infernal Affairs III is a 2003 Hong Kong crime thriller film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. It is the third installment in the Infernal Affairs film series, and is both a sequel and a semi-prequel to the original film, as it intercuts events before and after the events in the original.

Poster for the movie "Princess Iron Fan"

Princess Iron Fan

The story was liberally adapted from a short sequence in the popular Chinese folk tale Journey to the West. Princess Iron Fan is a main character. Specifically, the film focused on the duel between the Monkey King and a vengeful princess, whose fan is desperately needed to quench the flames that surround a peasant village.

Poster for the movie "Fujian Blue"

Fujian Blue

In the wake of China’s open-door policy in the early 1980’s, Fujian was one of the first Chinese coastal provinces to be opened to the outside world. Many of the male residents opted to go abroad for work, leaving behind their wives and families. Two decades later, Fujian is a microcosm of Chinese modernity: there are palatial suburbs populated by lonely “remittance widows”; neon-lit discotheques frequented by karaoke kids; coastal villages inhabited by impoverished fishermen … Read more

Poster for the movie "My Blueberry Nights"

My Blueberry Nights

Elizabeth (Jones) has just been through a particularly nasty breakup, and now she’s ready to leave her friends and memories behind as she chases her dreams across the country. In order to support herself on her journey, Elizabeth picks up a series of waitress jobs along the way. As Elizabeth crosses paths with a series of lost souls.

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "The Supreme Swordsman"

The Supreme Swordsman

A rampaging swordsman slices and dices his way across China on a bloody mission to cut down every warrior in his way, and claim the blade of the legendary Supreme Swordsman in this Shaw Brothers classic starring Derek Yee and Jason Pai Piao, and directed by Keith Li Baak Ling. But when the son of a slain sword maker emerges as an unexpected challenger, the ruthless killer realizes that he may have finally met his … Read more

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "Gone Forever with My Love"

Gone Forever with My Love

Su Kai is spunky but lonesome: his job takes him on long solitary drives across China. On a ferry, he meets two China Air flight attendants, Ge Ge and Yang Yan. He’s smitten by Ge Ge, and within a few days, she agrees to move in with him. They borrow money, build a house, live in harmony, and plan a wedding. Then, a sudden turn of events brings a change in Su Kai; he becomes … Read more

Poster for the movie "Big Movie"

Big Movie

Shot by a director who goes by the name of A Gan, The Big Movie is a dazzling spoof in the tradition of Hollywood films like Airplane. This film contains a lot of big movies: hold on to your seats, as an absurdly linked series of sometimes droll, sometimes genuinely hilarious take-offs of famous film scenes rush by in the opening half hour.

Poster for the movie "Shaolin Temple 3: Martial Arts of Shaolin"

Shaolin Temple 3: Martial Arts of Shaolin

Jet Li weasels out of the north Shaolin temple to assassinate a despotic ruler at the ruler’s extravagant public birthday celebration. Two other men from the south Shaolin temple also set out to assassinate the ruler, but all three fail and are chased all over by soldiers. Meanwhile, one of the southerners turns out to be a cross-dressed woman, who is also discovered to wear a footbell to match Jet Li’s, meaning they are somehow … Read more

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "A World Without Thieves"

A World Without Thieves

Two grifters, Wang Bo and Wang Li, a couple who’ve been arguing, board a train in rural China. He wants to fleece a peasant, nicknamed Dumbo for his naiveté, who’s carrying 60,000 yuan and trusts everyone. She wants to protect the hick kid, an act of expiation brought on by prayer and a visit to a temple. Also on board are one of more sets of thieves, including a calculating boss and his femme fatale. … Read more

Poster for the movie "House of Flying Daggers"

House of Flying Daggers

In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem. At its height, the Tang Dynasty was one of the most enlightened empires in Chinese history. But in 859AD, the Dynasty is in decline.

Poster for the movie "A Love of Blueness"

A Love of Blueness

Rookie policeman Tai Lin yearned to be an artist before he failed an examination and followed in his father’s footsteps. One day he interrupts an apparent suicide attempt by a woman standing on the edge of a bridge.

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "The Orphan of Anyang"

The Orphan of Anyang

A prostitute from the Northeast, desperate and unable to make ends meet, abandons her baby. An unemployed factory worker decides to take the child for the 200 yuan (about $37 Canadian) a month in child support promised by its mother. His early attempts at child-rearing are somewhat painful to watch, but also charming and amusing. Eventually, he and the mother become friendly and it seems that the child will be raised in a sweetly unorthodox … Read more

Categories Uncategorized
Poster for the movie "Skyline Cruisers"

Skyline Cruisers

Action adventure in which the formula for a cancer-curing medicine is stolen, and a kung-fu fighting team must overcome rivals and doublecrosses in order to get it back.

Poster for the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically-skilled, teenage nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

Categories Uncategorized Tags ,

Yanzhi

Yanzhi meets the handsome E Qiuzhun and is attracted to him. When this is revealed to her friend Madam Wong’s lover Su Jie, he masquerades as E Qiuzhun and steals into Yanzhi’s house at night, attempting to take liberties with Yanzhi. Yanzhi rebuffs Su Jie, who leaves with an embroidered shoe. The shoe then falls into the hands of a cad named Mao Da, who also sneaks into her house, hoping to make love to … Read more

Categories Uncategorized