[Before you read this - please do not take this as a negative review. I’m not trying to dishearten future members or shock readers with this seemingly unusual journey we embarked upon, on the contrary; I’m trying to show you how exciting and different life in this society can be! So we may do things a little bit different, and perhaps you may feel a little out of your comfort zone from time to time, but in the end that’s what we are all about - trying new things and experiencing a different culture!]
So last Sunday a group of us travelled to London to see the UK premiere screening of ‘Underwater Love’ distributed by ’Third Window Films‘, and for many of us it was just as Adam Torel predicted – ‘a baptism of fire’.
We began our journey sometime around ten and eleven in the morning, waiting for an hour or so in the Hub coffee shop whilst a man wandered nearby playing a ukulele. Our transport (which was delayed after a flat tire) eventually arrived, we were then tightly packed into what some of us in the back referred to as a ‘bouncy rave-mobile’. This was due to the controversial decision to play club music at close-to-full volume all the way to London and back, and the suspension that left us shook every time we went over so much as a bump (being in the back probably didn’t help). Fortunately we made light of the situation, making the trip a much less tedious one.
We stopped abruptly for lunch at a roadside cafe, a ‘mod’ and biker themed one at that. Our apparent lack of super-heavy-bikes and leather overalls left us a tad out of place, especially as we walked through the car park full of long distance bikers engaging in light conversation. We bought expensive chips and ate nervously in unfamiliar surroundings as waiters shouted out table numbers aggressively. But it wasn’t long before we were back on the bus, and back on the road…
Before long we arrived at the ‘Rich Mix‘ in London, with two hours to kill before the screening. We sat at a table in an art-house bar, watching the young and eccentric upper class drift in and out casually to the sound of dub-step and pretentious lounge music. The ‘Pete Doherty look’ seemed quite popular, with everyone dressing in this manner except for us and the waiter serving samosas and egg rolls, who sat miserably in the corner the entire time. Eventually we succumbed to boredom and did what everyone does in a sophisticated bar – play chess and boggle! And if that wasn’t surreal enough we soon moved upstairs, waiting for the screening room to open. There we were met with hallway gatherings, group photos and Christopher Doyle warmly greeting acquaintances whilst others snacked on kettle chips and German beer.
Before we knew it we were in the screening room, observing the seats slowly fill to the tune of more lounge music, only this music had (to put it lightly) hilariously explicit lyrics. The film itself was a little different, but interesting all the same; some of the more memorable scenes left us unsure whether to laugh or to gasp in shock. After the film finished there was a live performance by the film-score composers ‘Stereo Total’, during which I witnessed someone using a ladder as percussion… In all however it brought a nice level of closure to the evening (and a room full of people shuffling to midi techno pop).
In conclusion it was a rather bizarre evening, but definitely an enjoyable one overall. For many of us this was a push into the deep end when it comes to East Asian film, but it has left us wanting more. I think there is one thing I will personally take away from this; one thing that I remember Mr Doyle saying between his banter and anecdotes “You are here today because you are interested in film; hopefully some of you here will want make your own film. Want my advice? Just do it.”
Cristopher Doyle and CUEAFS
Written by Adam Teighe
Photography by Andreea Dascalu