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Interview Patrick Tam: the exiled filmmaker
Modern HK Cinema and Johnnie To 1/1 - Page 7
Author(s) : Gina Marchetti
David Vivier
Thomas Podvin
Date : 28/6/2007
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Johnnie To Kei Fung
Movies :
The Election
Love Massacre
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Page 6 : Eat - ate - eaten
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Page 8 : New projects

HKCinemagic : For many years, you’ve been active as a teacher, an editor, and in other ways; however, you haven’t been active as a director. Do you see AFTER THIS OUR EXILE as a return from a sort of “exile” from directing?
Patrick Tam : I like the idea of “exile.” Although I am a filmmaker, I don’t see myself that closely connected or integrated with the local industry. I seldom go to parties, and I seldom talk with other people. I like to do things by myself. I am more individualistic; I take this loner approach. When you create something, whether you’re writing a novel or painting a picture or making a film, you have to work in solitude. You have to reflect. If you have too many activities going on around you, it is difficult to concentrate and handle your work. After my first seven films, I see there is a conflict. There is a kind of schizophrenia, especially in LOVE MASSACRE (1981). The form and content are schizophrenic. I think I’m not that suitable to continue to make films within the industry. These are not the films that my boss wants, and these are not the films that I can claim to be my personal work. It’s better to put a stop to it and reflect on it. That’s how I see my early films --as exercises, as attempts at cinema, not as complete and accomplished works. They are full of defects.

HKCinemagic : Over the last decade (1997-2007), what filmmakers in Hong Kong and China have really interested you?
Patrick Tam : Johnnie To. He is definitely energetic. I worked with him on editing ELECTION (2005). He has great energy. Within the context of Hong Kong commercial cinema, he manages to take this kind of guerrilla warfare approach by putting up something personal. He doesn’t do it openly. It’s subtle and integrated into the works. He manages to subvert the usual notion of mainstream Hong Kong cinema. This is interesting. Maybe he can broaden his scope a bit, rather than concentrating on killers/assassins/all this triad society stuff. I hope he can develop more diversity in his output.
HKCinemagic : How did you end up editing ELECTION?
Patrick Tam : He asked me. At that time, he knew I was teaching at the university, I had students, and he managed to get in touch with some of my students who invited him for a guest lecture. He was quite impressed, and he wanted to nominate two or three students to work at his company, and I would do a class like I did in Malaysia to help him supervise some scripts. However, this turned out to be too time consuming. Instead, he asked me to edit ELECTION. At that time, he knew ELECTION would go to Cannes, so I managed to work on it. The version I did was 126 minutes. Now, it’s only 100 minutes. He cut twenty minutes. I think a fuller version should be better.
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