Watch “Revolution Trilogy” 睇「革命三部曲」

Friday, 18 March, 2016

Director/producer/independent reporter Kempton Lam has made three full-length documentaries from 2004 – 2015. Kempton’s debut documentary Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命 has been collected by the Canadian National Archive since 2009. The three documentaries are collectively known as “Revolution Trilogy「革命三部曲」 and are in Cantonese with English subtitles (廣東話、英文字幕). You can watch the three films at this YouTube Playlist (beautifully projected on your big screen HDTV or on your computer). Enjoy!

Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」 (full-length 2005) (read film & Canadian national archive info)

HKtv Revolution 「香港電視革命」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

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Banksy’s $1.4m transformative act (self-destructing stunt?)

Sunday, 7 October, 2018

(with 2018, October 11th & 18 updates) Fascinating $1.4m transformative act (self-destructing stunt?) by anonymous UK-based street artist Banksy. The work is not really “destroyed” because it is in a funny Schrödinger’s cat half-alive & half dead state. A total and more messy destruction would be one that cut the canvas into tiny squares and cut the whole canvas completely and let the pieces fall onto the ground. A total and more beautiful “destruction” is what Tibetan monks do when they blow away their own sand arts (sand mandala is a ritual of creation and destruction, that “symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life“).

Finally, the money/worth question is probably the easiest one to answer. It will be rather stupid for the buyer to use legal means to get out of the deal. The work, after this stunt, will easily worth a lot more. Way more! But what is more interesting to me about art is always about the questions we ask ourselves or the thinking we do about them. We (National Gallery of Canada) paid a controversial $1.8m for Voice of Fire (a painting consists of “three equally sized vertical stripes, with the outer two painted blue and the centre painted red“) in 1989. It was estimated to worth $40m in 2014 and probably more today. And of course, art can’t just be about money. [HT Seastar]

P.S. This “making of” video was posted on Banksy’s official IG page a few hours ago.

Oct 11, 2018 update: Not to the surprise of anyone, this author included, the anonymous collector that had the winning bid is keeping the piece of art history.

“Sotheby’s said the painting has now been re-titled Love is in the Bin and authenticated by Banksy’s Pest Control agency.

Alex Branczik, head of contemporary art for Europe at Sotheby’s, says it is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.”

The buyer’s identity was not revealed but Sotheby’s quoted her as saying: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.””

Oct 18, 2018 update: Here is a new video “Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s Cut” [HT Mashable]

Here is my comment, notes and questions.

“The Director’s *Unfinished* Cut” is probably a more fitting title! :) Nice performance art regardless. If indeed “In rehearsals it worked every time …”, dare I ask what the heck failed? This “art” is forever incomplete because its “mission critical” function of the cutting action failed! Are there engineers or handy women/men out there who have tried to figure out what failed? Was it simply the world’s most expensive show of a paper jam (or canvas jam)?! Here are some time codes and I would love to learn your take of WTF failed? I also wonder how Banksy feels about this canvas jam?!

0:07 The Cutter.
0:10 The drive belt
0:11 The Cutter with Black test canvas
0:13 A test copy of “Girl With Balloon”?
0:14 The battery and wiring.
0:16 The motor (middle of screen) and the cutter (top right)
0:17 Split second right before the back cover was put on. Another motor (bottom middle of screen). Strange placement of it? Why not place the motor symmetrically on the other side of the other motor?
0:20 Nailing shut the back cover.
0:22 The supposed actual copy of “Girl With Balloon” ready for auction.
0:38 “Girl With Balloon” on the wall of the auction house.
2:04 The remote control? (We are led to think they shot this at the auction. But who knows? Location unknown.) What interests me: There are TWO buttons? The button the person pressed. The GREEN button (not pressed). And then the red light. What does the GREEN button do? Is the button meant to stop the cutting?


4th Anniversary of Umbrella Revolution

Friday, 28 September, 2018

On this 4th anniversary of Umbrella Revolution in HK, I will be frank as I had not planned to revisit/watch any Umbrella Revolution video footage including my own documentary because I had watched my documentary and the footage in it probably hundreds of time during edit. But 4 years later, while I of course remember and appreciate the major players’ roles and efforts, the unnamed strangers who helped out by sweeping water on the the street are what affected me and what I want to remember the most.

An unnamed strangers who helped out by sweeping water on the the street (timecode 49m34s)

I will always be in debt to the 100+ content creators who helped made my doc possible. So I rewatched the credit sequences to remember and say thanks.

The amazing credit sequence (timecode 1h47m6s) itself is also packed with photos and artworks by some content creators’ works at the time.


(video) LOVE Talk 幸福定格 (7 years filmed 8 couples) director Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚 interview

Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

I recently had the great pleasure of having an extensive 2-hour interview with Taiwanese award-winning director of LOVE Talk 幸福定格 (see below for synopsis) Mr. Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚. after watching his new documentary (spent 7 years to film 8 couples) which I really enjoyed and found insightful.

最近慶幸有機會訪問台灣得獎導演沈可尚兩小時,詳談他非常好看及發人深省的新紀錄片”幸福定格 LOVE Talk” (七年時間拍攝八對夫妻) (影片簡介見文章末).

20180925 沈可尚導演訪問 Interview with Director SHEN Ko-shang

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 movie poster

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 movie poster

Trailer 預告片

Ko-shang was very accommodating in letting me asked questions in English (with some Mandarin translation when necessary) and then he answered in Mandarin.

沈導演非常包容合作, 樂意讓我用英語發問(必要時加上一些普通話翻譯),然後沈導演用普通話回答。

Since Ko-shang gave some very broad, in-depth, very insightful and sometimes unexpected answers, I wasn’t sure if it is useful or unhelpful to break the Q&As down and provide precise time codes to help viewers access a specific section.

由於沈導演給出了一些非常廣泛,深入,有見地且有時出乎意料的答案,我也不確定是否應該把每一段問答(Q&A)分開,並提供時碼 (time codes, 時分秒)以幫助觀眾跳到訪問特定的時碼是否有益。

My suggestion is to watch the whole interview from beginning to end so it flows better. But if you must, see below for linked time codes and my questions.

我建議從頭到尾觀看整個訪問,以保流暢。 但是,如果你覺得有幫助,訪問片段之後有我的題問和相關的時碼 (time codes) 連接。

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 director Mr. Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚 interview

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Here are some of the questions asked: 以下是訪問中的一部份問題:

Question @1m45s I heard from a HK organizer of Chinese Documentary Festival (第十一屆華語紀錄片節) the first screening of “Love Talk” was sold out on the first day of ticket sales. And the second screening are almost sold out. So they added a third screening.

How do you feel when hearing this good news? Do you feel pressure from anticipation of the audiences?

Question @3m52s Are you looking forward to Q&As with HK audiences?

Question @5m10s In 2010, you pitched 幸福定格 with the English title “Double Happiness Limited” at the CCDF pitching forum (華人紀錄片提案) and now 7 years + editing time later, 幸福定格 has evolved into “LOVE talk” (with the letters
L.O.V.E. in upper case).

Can you talk about what did you try to capture in the beginning and what did you get at the end?

Question @14m07s So it took 14 months to make: 賽鴿風雲 RACING PIGEON IN TAIWAN, 3 years to make: 築巢人 A Rolling Stone, and now 7 years to make 幸福定格 LOVE talk filming 8 couples.

How did you feel during the 7 years of filming and about one year of editing? Were you very worried about not getting what you want or need?

Question @21m28s When you decided you to start editing, did you ever go back to film more footage?

Question @29m03s Are there cases after their chats were filmed, they asked you to delete the footage or promise not to use them? If not, what would you have done if you were asked?

Question @37m26s If you had a time machine and could time travel to 10, 20, or 30 years into the future to talk to the grown up children of the couples, what would you tell them? Would you thank them? What would you say?

Question @44m11s How did you decide to place the funny moments, the heart warming moments, the tense and stressful moments in the film? In a sense, how did you discover the flow of the film?

Question @1h03m14s Since LOVE talk has already screened at film festivals in places like 西寧, 武漢, and 北京, and you’ve Q&As, something I understand you enjoyed. Can you give examples of three memorable audience questions that you were asked and your answers?

Comment @1h12m01s Mr. Shen: “In the three screenings, audiences all have asked this question.

Question @1h15m20s Some viewers who have watched a promotional clip would have learned one of the women in the movie had stage 3 liver cancer. After rematching the film, I realized it wasn’t mentioned it the movie. Can you explain a little of your reasons of actually NOT giving much details about the couples and what happened to them as some scenes ended mid-argument?

Comment @1h16m42s Mr. Shen: “The most important message of this film is “TALK“.

Question @1h18m56s My question about naming the film “TALK love” since TALK is so important?

Question @1h20m56s In the end of the film, we learned one of the husbands was in HK? Is he still working in HK? And do you know if he plans to attend one of the screenings?

Question @1h23m37s German director Werner Herzog is known for making some great documentaries and drama. I love his documentaries: Grizzly Man , Cave of Forgotten Dreams and his dramas like Rescue Dawn. You yourself have made both dramas and documentaries in your career. Can you briefly talk about your processes in coming up with ideas, planning, and making documentaries vs dramas? Do you have a favourite genre: documentaries or dramas?

Question @1h33m10s When you write your script, do you have actors/actresses in mind playing those roles? And how do you cast actors/actresses to act in your movies? Canadian director David Cronenberg once used YouTube interview videos to help him cast a movie (Twilight superstar Robert Pattinson in his movie Cosmopolis).

Question @1h44m42s What next for you with “LOVE talk”? Which festivals are you scheduled to attend? And will people in Taiwan get to see “LOVE talk” in film festivals or main theatres?

Question @1h47m25s What do you look forward in your upcoming trip to HK? What do you like to eat? What do you usually do in HK?

Question @1h48m33s Some of your HK friends make documentaries. Do you end up talking shops and each others’ movies with your documentary filmmaking friends?

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Here are some official film stills of LOVE Talk 幸福定格:

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LOVE Talk 幸福定格 @ The 11th Chinese Documentary Festival 2018
Date Time Venue
17/10 (Wed) 2:30 pm Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Science Museum*
18/10 (Thur)【Additional Screening】 9:50 pm MOViE MOViE Cityplaza*
20/10 (Sat) 3:30 pm MOViE MOViE Cityplaza*
*Q&A session with the director

** From LOVE Talk 幸福定格 promotional materials **

//LogLine:
He spent 7 years looking for the secret to the preservation of marriage. Taiwan director Shen Ko-shang, after his first year of marriage, started to question his marital life, and with these questions, he had been shooting 8 couples for 7 years. He invited them to have conversations in front of the camera, while the topics ranging from their in-law issues, children upbringing problems, to the division of responsibilities in their marriage, in order to seek for the answers to two questions: Do people really need marriage? How exactly do two people get along with each other for a lifetime?

Synopsis
One finds love, marries and then expects happiness. Once in marriage, love alone ceased to be the only thing that bonds the two together; things of more complexity are added to the play. A conversation, an exchange, is the only possible means of dissolving the boundary between two individuals. The film focuses on daily conversations between eight couples. In their trivial dialogues of love, husband and wife question each other on topics ranging from sex, parenting, housework division, problems with their mother-in-law, and even dullness of marital life. The conversations reflect the authenticity of characters’ conditions of living, exploring the depth of intimate relationship in marriage while at the same time shedding a dim light on the significance of happiness. Perhaps this sort of happiness lies in the journey where seeking is the end itself, and it can certainly not be captured in frame.//

//影片簡介
作品曾獲亞太影展最佳紀錄片、臺北電影節首獎導演沈可尚,歷時七年,執著記錄八對邁入婚姻殿堂、時間長短不一的夫妻生活對話,他們開誠佈公、質問著對方日常生活中不會觸及的話題,從為什麼要與對方結婚到不再有激情的婚姻生活;是否厭倦對方到一觸及發的婆媳問題;還有關於性、關於生孩子、關於受不了對方的點點滴滴…。
其中中國大陸的小夫妻阿飛和樂會,他們在共同打工的地方認識、相愛、結婚,通過質樸的對話,可以看到內地年輕一代農民工的婚戀觀念;來自臺灣的白領年輕夫妻勇諴和薇之,他們展現了城市新潮夫妻的對於婚姻生活的期待與妥協;另外還有教授、小吃店老闆、白領職員、藝術工作者、創業家、家庭主婦等來自不同地方不同處境的夫妻,將帶領觀眾再次反思自身對婚姻與幸福的定義。//

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Further exploration (interviews & news):

*) Ko-shang did an insightful and fun to listen to hour long interview with 人氣心理專家鄧惠文 (精神科醫師/心理治療師) on her radio show. You can listen to the full News98 radio show on YouTube.

*) 《幸福定格》導演沈可尚:婚姻,比愛情深刻,比親情好玩 (ref)

*) 导演沈可尚:爱比我们想象中的复杂得多


For me, I’m just me. – New Quote I Love

Monday, 17 September, 2018

I’m adding a new quote to my long list of Quotes I Love. This one came from Naomi Osaka‘s post US Open victory press conference in Japan. Here is the quote with video linked below.

I mean, I don’t really think too much about my identity or whatever. For me, I’m just me.

And I know the way that I was brought up, I don’t know, people tell me I act kind of Japanese so I guess there is that. But other than that, if you were talking about my tennis, I think my tennis is very … not very Japanese.”

Naomi Osaka on her U.S. Open victory – Press Conference in Japan – First-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka returns to Japan and speaks out after her U.S. Open final win.


Op-ed: Ontarians, Call your MLA and Premier Doug Ford’s office to stop him from using notwithstanding clause to cut size of Toronto city council

Monday, 10 September, 2018

Just read this news and saw part of the LIVE press conference re Premier “Ford plans to invoke notwithstanding clause for first time in province’s history, will call back Legislature on Bill 5“.

This news made me absolutely sick! I urge all my friends in Ontario or those who have friends in Ontario to call their MLAs to stop this mad action by Premier Doug Ford! Don’t let your Charter Rights eroded like this!

In 2005, the Alberta government mused about invoking notwithstanding clause over same-sex marriage but they smartened up and nothing ever happened at the end because of public outrage!

In 1998, Alberta’s justice minister vowed to invoke the notwithstanding clause to limit the compensation paid to nearly 500 people who were sterilized without their permission. //The government withdrew the legislation less than 24 hours later in the face of public outrage.//

I was so angry that I called my MLA (the late Hon Ron Stevens) who was a QC (and later the Justice Minister and Deputy Premier) and gave him my 2 cents of why it would be so wrong morally to use the notwithstanding clause (incidentally, an Alberta idea (see the Late Alberta Premier Hon Peter Lougheed explained in “Why a Notwithstanding Clause?“). My point is we citizens can and have to speak up!


2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka – What I learn

Monday, 10 September, 2018

2018 US Open champion is Naomi Osaka and this post collects some of what I’ve learned over the last few days by focusing on areas that I see positives things and lovely moments. Things I think we learn the amid controversies. Have a read of this op-ed by tennis legend and former champion Martina Navratilova: “What Serena Got Wrong – Just because the guys might be able to get away with it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

Sept 9th, 2018, US Open, “2018 US Open Press Conference: Naomi Osaka” I LOVE the #GoPro moment at 2:54 and the 8:23 Q&A that got Naomi emotional. Watch this insightful and lovely exchange at 3:10 for example of her answer re “getting in fight with herself”!

Sept 9th, ESPN (with a nice bit of game reply/highlight), [FULL] Naomi Osaka interview after defeating Serena Williams in 2018 Grand Slam final

Sept 10th, 2018, WTA, “Champions Corner: Osaka sets sights on Singapore debut” (audio interview, new stuff starts ~20:52)

PBS News Hours, Sept 9th, 2018: “Osaka’s win at U.S. Open overshadowed by Williams’ penalties

NOTE: I found the above analysis, sports reporter Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress and Sandra Harwitt, who covered the match for USA Today. And I love Harwitt’s answer @2:40 in the news program, (here is an excerpt with emphasis added)

“SANDRA HERWITT:

I absolutely disagree. I know of Ramos and I believe Carlos Remus to be one of the best umpires in the business. I don’t think it was sexist at all. I don’t believe him to be a sexist. I know that he called Novak Djokovic out for coaching and for a record violation at Wimbledon this year. A coaching rule is actually the player takes the fine. But the rule is actually against the coach. He admitted he did that. It doesn’t matter whether she saw it or not. And to me it also doesn’t really matter if it happens all the time. As somebody who was 23 grand slam titles and 36 years of experience, almost 37, she should’ve let it go. Carlos is one of the few umpires that really has the guts to go out there and abide by the rules.”

Sept 10th, TODAY, “US Open Winner Naomi Osaka Speaks Out On Controversial Serena Williams MatchRead the rest of this entry »


When did you become a snob?! – New Quote I Love

Monday, 20 August, 2018

I’m adding a new quote to my long list of Quotes I Love. For this one, I need a lot of context, so I’m including an excerpt of an insightful talk delivered by Crazy Rich Asians (#1 box office of $35M+ in a 5-day opening) director Jon M. Chu in this 2015 Film Independent Forum Keynote .

I found out this video after Chu shared it a tweet “Ironically, I was on THE EXACT same stage that only 2.5 years ago I was giving a painful speech about what it was like for my movie to BOMB its opening weekend. But I think back &that is also the exact moment my #CrazyRichAsians journey began. #persevere

Jon M. Chu‘s mom: When did you become a snob?!

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t making anything either. I didn’t have a video camera and I wasn’t editing on my own. For those five years, this idea, this carrot of you’re going to make a movie, you’re going to make a movie eluded me. And I didn’t fulfill that part of my body. The longest time in my life that I wasn’t making stuff physically.

Then this script comes across my desk. This is literally five years later. And I’m in the condo that the pair play price (???) bought for me. I’m out of money basically. And I get a script for Step Up 2. I’m like what’s Step Up 2? Oh, it’s a direct-to-dvd sequel to this dance movie. I was like, oh yeah, I think I saw that. And I was like I don’t do direct-to-dvd. And I was like, you know, Steven Spielberg saw my short, he loved it. I’m gonna make features. I’ve been working on it for over five years. It’s only six months away. And I talked to my mom. And she was like, when did you become a snob?!
What are you talking about? She’s like “you trained to be s storyteller and a storyteller can use anything even if it’s campfire. So what makes you think you’re so good and you’re like on the bench of a great team but you’ve never played. Like get your two minutes prove what you can do.”
And I was like, yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna make the best damn direct-to-dvd dance movie sequel ever.”” – Jon M. Chu

Film Independent Forum, Jon Chu Keynote (16:31)


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