Sunday, August 08, 2004

RABUN - notes from the writer/director

I made my first film "Rabun" as a way of saying to my parents, "See? I know all your nonsense and your craziness, but I love you anyway."

"Rabun" is about something that actually happened to them many years ago. They've always had this naughty habit of pre-judging people, and in this instance, they got their fingers burnt as a result of it.

I'm lucky that I have parents who are not like any other I know. They play with each other like children. That's why I felt "Rabun" was a story worth telling. To me, it was about something interesting that happened to two interesting people. I hope the end-result is a film worth watching.

Someone asked why I did not fully explore the social issues that surfaced in the story. My answer was, "In the end, I think 'Rabun' is not a film about issues, but about people. When issues surfaced, they were natural to the context of the story. I did not want to stretch them any further than that. Personally, I'm not interested in films that are made because someone wanted to drive his opinions down my throat, leaving me no room to weigh the issues myself."

You may find the way I shot "Rabun" annoyingly still, with hardly any camera move, hardly any cut, and from a distance, almost like watching theatre where everything happens right before your eyes.

The reason for this was, being a first time film-maker, I was curious to see if the full emotions of a scene could come through, without having too many emotion-heightening tricks such as close-ups, reverse shots, or quick cuts. (On set, I learnt what mise en scene really meant!)

Secondly, having directed ten tv commercials before making "Rabun", I was pretty much bored with the fast-cut/fancy-angles/slow-tracking shots that have become a cliche in advertisements.

Finally, and perhaps most accurately, we didn't have enough time, money, or film to shoot "Rabun" any other way, anyway.

I wish everyone who watches "Rabun" reacts to it primarily as a person, and not as a film-maker or a film critic. "Art," as Hitchcock once said, "is emotions." Although "Rabun" may not qualify as "art", I hope it arouses some emotions in people, especially concerning the simple joy of having someone to love in our lives.