Patrick Tam : Because it is a story about a father and a son, I have read some reviews that have compared this film to BICYCLE THIEVES (Vittorio de Sica, 1948). However, as with the case of Allen Fong’s FATHER AND SON, I don’t think there is any direct reference to the Neo-Realists. This film is poetic.
It really depends on how you define realism. It is not necessarily in the tradition of the Italian cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. It is not about poverty. My film is about the truth of emotion--this kind of conflict. Although the father is good-for-nothing, a gambler, who gambles away the whole family, he may be solely responsible for the unrest and disintegration of the family, but, still, it is not about poverty or materialistic shortcomings. It is really about the weakness of the characters, the failure of human beings, the lack of power of self-reflection that causes the tragedy.
[What’s more] I like Robert Bresson’s films. It is difficult to define or classify Bresson’s spirituality--not in the religious sense. His films are about a release, a transcendence of the soul from the body. The main theme of Bresson’s films is the liberation of the soul from the captivity of the body. This is the most fascinating thing about Bresson. If most of the maestros are working toward the expression, understanding, or exploration of the human condition, Bresson is different. His cinema can only be called a “cinema of theology.” In this sense, what he is concerned with is not the human condition, but with the condition of the human soul. This is what makes Bresson unique and stand out alone in the history of the cinema.
Many local critics have attacked my film because it does not measure up to BICYCLE THIEVES, but they miss the point entirely because they lack a deep understanding of realism. Critics do not have to love my film or agree with me, but they should have a deeper understanding of the film. This is the age of mediocrity. In general, the standards of film criticism and the cinema are going down. Maybe this is a fact we have to accept?