Thursday, October 23, 2008

[TIFF 2008 Press Conference] Claustrophobia (親密)

LtoR: Karena Lam, Ivy Ho, Ekin Cheng

Writer-director Ivy Ho and her two leading stars Karena Lam and Ekin Cheng were present this afternoon at the Movie Cafe to field questions by the press with regards to her debut feature film as a director, Claustrophobia.

Ivy Ho explained about film's English and Chinese title, where her husband is actually claustrophobic up to the point of not wanting to even sit at an airplane window seat, and somehow his condition had rubbed off on her. She decided that she would use this condition as a title of a film one day, but not decided at that stage what kind of film it would be. As for the Chinese one, it is rather neutral and has dual meaning, as it can be referring to something sweet, or have a negative connotation to it.

And no, the movie while being presented in reverse order, wasn't shot chronologically in that order. Given the relatively low budget, and having only 16 days to shoot the film, she can't afford to do it chronologically. Ekin mentioned too that it was challenging to shoot the film in random order as it involves totally different emotions and feelings in each scene, though having an experienced cast did make it a pleasurable experience. Karena on the other hand actually had the script with her 5 to 6 months before filming began, and actually, since the scenes are set in their own respective timeline, there weren't any issues with the shoot not being in chronology.

Ivy also explained her rationale for using flashbacks throughout the entire film, that in film there are a lot of things we do not know, but we want to know everything by the time it ends. But in real life, there remains a lot of things that we do not know. She's very inspired by Harold Pinter's Betrayal, and that such a presentation in Claustrophobia is nothing new, nor the first time used in movies, since there are such examples in Irreversible and 5X2 doing the same.

Before the conference wrapped up, each of them were asked to share which is their favourite scene in the movie. Ivy's was the first scene, and she was actually worried if an audience would find that scene to be boring. Ekin also shared the same sentiments in that the first, and the last scene were his favourites, because it parallels life in that one does not know the starting and ending points. Only Karena had a different personal preference, in that she had shared a scene with Eric Tsang as a doctor. That scene was looking for answers, but it was unsuccessful in the end. She was extremely moved by how that scene progressed to the end, where the doctor had returned her the X-Ray of her mom, like a sense of returning and closure, of finally getting over her mom through a clean cut, and signifying the loss of one's hope.

You can also view the entire press conference here, in Japanese and Cantonese language only.

Meanwhile, here's the slideshow containing some photos taken during the press conference:

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