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Interview Clara Law, Eddie Fong: Chinese Diaspora & Global Dream
Themes of Existence and Dream 1/3 - Page 5
Author(s) : Gina Marchetti
Date : 26/8/2010
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Daniel Wu Yin Cho
Movies :
Farewell China
Floating Life
Like A Dream
< Previous
Page 4 : Floating Life, 1996
Next >
Page 6 : New creative phase, Goddess of 1967, 2000

Eddie Fong: One common phenomenon in both Farewell China and Floating Life is that the women characters in these films all have psychological problems. That’s true because that’s the result of our research. When we were in New York, some social workers told us about this.

Woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Maggie Cheung in Farewell China

Clara Law: Actually, when we were working at Apple TV, I did this magazine program, and I did a lot of research on how Chinese families live in New York. I heard about lots of success stories, but I also heard lots of stories about women having psychological or mental problems. It’s probably because they don’t have to work. They stay home and they become very lonely. As their children grow up and start speaking English to them, they feel very rejected and abandoned, and lots of them developed mental problems. A lot of women committed suicide. There are lots of stories that we’ve heard about. I didn’t make a connection with these women in our films until now.
Gina Marchetti: Yes, this is in Like a Dream too, but this time it’s a man. It’s the male character who has the issue, although the women also have psychological problems. In Like a Dream, there are a lot of issues involving the nature of existence as well: What is fiction? What is reality? What is in your imagination? What is out in the real world? This is your most recent film which you brought to the HKIFF this year. It deals with the dream life of a male character, Max, played by Daniel Wu, who becomes obsessed with a dream woman that he conjures up in his imagination. He then goes to Shanghai and gets a brief glimpse of her. He then goes to Hangzhou and gets another glimpse of a concrete woman, who is played by the same actress. So these are dual roles: one of a dream girl who may or may not exist in Shanghai and the Hangzhou girl who helps Max to look for her while she searches for her own doppelganger through his imagination.

Clara Law and Daniel Wu the West Village location for Like a Dream,
photo courtesy of Persona Films


When I was watching this film, I was really struck by its being in conversation with Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Talking about the question of existence: what do you see, what can you see and what does the film show you. I thought of Vertigo, The Double Life of Veronique, Blow Up. But, then I was talking with someone else who said, "No. You’re completely wrong, Gina. It’s really a Chinese story. It’s the young scholar dreaming of his dream girl and then somehow finding themselves together even though one has died." Then, I thought maybe it’s like Teresa Tang’s song Tian Mi Mi’ s lyric, "I n a dream I see you. You are the one in my dream." I was curious if you’d talk a little bit about some of your inspiration for the film and whether any of these make any sense to you. Or, you may have had a completely different inspiration for your visualization of this dream world.

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