On the 4th day of the 14th Udine Far East Film Festival, CUEAFS members Michelle and Eva met Taiwanese novelist Giddens and director of ‘You Are the Apple of My Eye’ (2011).
Q: Your film ‘You Are the Apple of My Eye’ is very high praised in Hong Kong. What do you think it is about the film that makes it so appealing to such a large audience?
A: I think one of the main reasons is that the public is touched not by the film itself but by their own memories of when they were young. I believe the personal touch makes it so appealing for the audience.
Q: There are a lot of specific references to Taiwanese culture and the Martin Luther King’s speech. Were you concerned if the film would be well translated in the Mainland?
A: For the audience in China, in terms of censorship, I think the sexual parts, for example the scenes with the jerking off. And the jerking off; and the jerking off… (laughing) were the most problematic. Basically we cut off all of the sexual bits from the version that is screened in China.
Q: Speaking of, what was the inspiration for shooting the jerking off scenes in such a stylish manner?
A: Many Taiwanese directors usually decide to shoot the sexual related scenes in a conservative way. However, I am a rather vulgar person (laughing) so decided to stay true to myself and present those scenes the way I want. I am really glad I made them in such a way because yesterday I could hear people laughing so loud while watching.
Q: Was the transition from being a novelist to being a filmmaker an easy one for you?
A: When I was considering the idea of being a director I thought that the worst thing that can happen to me is make a shitty movie and people would laugh at me about it. But I decided that if that happens I can take it and nothing worse can happen. The character in the film made a lot of funny and embarrassing things in order to pursue the girl he likes but at the end of the day when he looks back he will appreciate what he did. So this transition from being a novelist to being a director is actually a similar situation.
Q: This year we also saw another stylized Taiwanese film ‘Starry Starry Night’ (2011). Is there a resurgent of the Taiwanese cinema?
A: As being a new director, I don’t really care what other directors do. It is not that I don’t care actually but it is not that important for me at this stage. I am happy I started directing in this wave of Taiwanese films but I can’t really say much about it.
Q: We saw that the film ends in one particular way with the wedding and the kiss. We are wondering, can we look forward to a continuation of the story?
A: The continuation of the story will be their own lives so there won’t be any. But the next film I’m planning on shooting will be action film because I’ve heard action movies are really hard to make and I will be suffering a lot (laughing).
Q: Did you go to school with Jay Chou?
A: He is my idol and I actually invited him to take asmall part in the film but he was too busy and he couldn’t make it. However, he gave me as a present a song which comes nearly at the end of the film which is one of my favorite songs. So I am really happy that one of my idols was part of my movie.
Filming and video editing by Andrew Daley
Transcription by Eva Spirova
Photography by Andreea Dascalu