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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Conversations with Peter Chan Ho Sun
Perhaps Love 3/7 - Page 3
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Date : 27/10/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Maggie Cheung Man Yuk
Zhou Xun
Movies :
Comrades, Almost A Love Story
Perhaps Love
< Previous
Page 2 : Perhaps Love
Next >
Page 4 : Chinese films evolving

Romantic stories
HKCinemagic : Does the movie portray the perfect love story for you? What would be a perfect love story?
Peter Chan : No, do you think it’s perfect? All the titles of my loves story are imperfect, like Comrade, Almost a Love Story and Perhaps Love. There is always a question mark, “almost” or “perhaps.” To me, I’ve never counted on finding the perfect love. A lot of people call me a very romantic director and I make romances. But for me that’s a joke, because my movies are never romantic, because my movies are very old prospects about people. My movies are about people being selfish.

There is a fundamental difference between traditional love stories and contemporary one, because traditional ones are all about external factors and obstacles that stop you from loving the loved one. In Titanic, the ship is sinking. In Romeo and Juliet, two families are fighting. In The Butterflies Lovers, because women cannot go to school one has to pretend to be a boy. All those tragic love stories are based on external obstacles. But in the world today, we have no external obstacles. Why a partner leaves another, it’s because they don’t love each other enough. Because love is not invincible. If love was invincible, like the way it’s portrayed in traditional love stories, we wouldn’t have any problems. Now we don’t have obstacles; I don’t even need to make a love story, because everybody is in love and happily married. There is no story to be made. So I think in a contemporary love story, you’re really going back and discussing all the romantic love stories, because love is not invincible. It’s very fragile.

Jacky Cheung and Zhou Xun in Perhaps Love

When I was doing Comrades, I had a very good conversation with Maggie Cheung who said that in any relationship, if one walks away from another, there is not other reason but he or she doesn’t love her or him enough. It’s a very scary though for someone to be so in love, like Takeshi [in Perhaps Love] to realize that she [Zhou Xun] doesn’t love him enough. Or worse, she doesn’t love him, period. She loves money or she loves something more than she loves me. That’s like all contemporary love stories. Contemporary love stories are always about one loving more than the other. And even technically that is not romantic, if you want to think of a bitter approach of life. You could actually write a movie about bad people. Because if they walk away, they’re bad.

Women walking away
HKCinemagic : In Perhaps Love, we can consider Zhou Xun’s character as a not very likeable character, she uses others, is very career-minded and alcoholic. But in all your movies, looking at the way you portray your characters we can feel you love them.
Peter Chan : It’s a personal thing: I think women are the most attractive when they walk away. I truly love that, that’s why I make these characters. That movie [Perhaps Love] had very extreme responses, some people loved it and some hated it. Those who hated it looked at Zhou Xun’s character and thought she was not sympathetic --she’s not good enough. Those people were the one who used their brain to watch the movie; they used their logic and rationality. In my movies, you cannot use rationality otherwise it’s not romantic. These people [the film leads] don’t love each others enough, love is not invincible, and love is not everything.
However, if you use your heart, your emotions to watch the movie, without going into the character and stop dissecting the character, then you will go with the flow. That’s how I believe it.

A journalist raised a question yesterday: “Actually you didn’t talk about Zhou Xun at all in the movie.” Yes, because the only lead is Takeshi. It’s his movie; it’s his quest to find out whether or not this woman loves him. His whole life is about this woman.

Zhou Xun’s character is his vision of this woman, just like my vision of a woman.
Zhou [the actress] was my obstacle to make the movie exactly as I wanted it to be, because Zhou is the total opposite of her character Sun. For Zhou, it’s love above all. Love is more important than money or career or being an actress. So it’s a fundamental difference. I think Zhou played this character much more to the liking of the public than I would have done it if it wasn’t for Zhou. Look at Maggie Cheung [who plays Li Chiao] in Comrades. The film gives her actually a lot more excuses, because of the time, because of poverty, because of a lot of stuff. Her character is more likeable.

Takeshi Kaneshiro in Perhaps Love

All my movies are about women that leave, and when people say that I actually don’t show who Zhou is, I usually reply to them “I don’t know who these women are when they leave.” It’s a movie about a man who’s suffering because he’s lost his love. We don’t know why this woman walks away. And this whole movie is a quest for Takeshi to find out why she left and who she is and who she was.

The answer to your question will be because the director finds these women very attractive, because I don’t find they’re bad because they walk away. Maybe that’s the reason why they are not likeable characters, and yet I make them likeable.

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Page 2 : Perhaps Love
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Page 4 : Chinese films evolving

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