Part 2 of article: Interview of Producer Guo Li Jun
Scent: A new art film with a touch of melancholy
Park Si Hoo is actually most suited for this movie
Reporter: Why did you choose Park Si Hoo as the male lead?
Guo: In the novel, the male lead is Japanese but due to various reasons, we changed him to a Korean. This movie is in Korean, English and Chinese. A Korean production company helped us contact Korean actors, including Kim Soo Hyun, who was then filming ‘You from the stars’ and was not available.
Subsequently many famous Korean actors were shortlisted until we saw Park Si Hoo. At first sight we felt that he was most suited to the temperament of the leading man. After reading the script, he told me that the character was so like him that basically no acting was required. This role is not looking for a boy, but a man who makes women’s hearts ache and want to help. Park Si Hoo embodies that character.
Reporter: Why do you want to produce an art film?
Guo: We positioned this as a “new art film”, that is, a commercial film with an artistic temperament. From a producer’s point of view, I see the revival of art films, such as Zhang Yimou’s ‘Return’ and Ann Hui’s ‘Golden Age’ etc. The market also needs this type of movie.
I think many euphoric movies, whether they end up being bad productions or not, started with good intentions, that is to make everyone happy, but using different techniques. Currently there are very few good locally produced love stories and we also want to produce some pure romance movies. But we also don’t want to just cater to our own taste and lose contact with the audience, but to incorporate important emotional experience of young people that will make the film more appealing to the audience.
Why call this ‘a sense of scent movie’?
Reporter: Will this film appeal to the “Post 80s Generation’?
Guo: I believe the emotional portrayal in the movie will resonate with the “Post 80s Generation”. When I was talking to Teacher Wang Bin, he felt that some young people might not be able to understand the taste, deeper emotional experience and love; he also does not think what is considered love by some today is true love. That is from his writer’s standpoint and also his thinking.
I have a different opinion from him. We have a concept of “seeking love in the dearth of love”. So other than the dove element and the transnational relationship from the original novel, most of the plot is new.
Reporter: Why did you position the movie on the sense of smell?
Guo: Other than a 3 dimensional sensory experience, we added another dimension of interpersonal sensory – “taste’. An Italian scientist once experimented and found that a dove can find its way home through its sense of smell. And doves are monogamous creatures. In the West doves symbolize love and that is why we featured a lot of the dove elements in the movie — the homing dove (pigeon) finding its way home with its sense of smell, and lovers uniting through the familiar sense of smell, expressing the idea that people will eventually return to their first relationship.
Apart from the sensory experience of sight and sound, we also hope to convey the fragrance and flavor of love or that of a lover, or even memories of familiar taste to the audience in the course of the movie. It must be something you used to have or desired to have. We want to break down the barrier between the audience and the movie, not through technology, but coveyed by the movie to the audience through a sense of smell. For example, when you watch the movie with your loved one, as the story unfolds, your sense of smell accentuates. Maybe in real life, you have forgotten this sense but it is re-awakened when you watch the movie, and you can once again sense that smell of familiar people around you.
You then suddenly realize that this scent really exists.
The fashion in the movie is different from ‘Young Generation’
Reporter: Are there any fashion style in the movie?
Guo: There is, but unlike in ‘Young Generation’, ours is low key fashion. Chen Ran, the female lead, is very active in the fashion circle and a lot of fashion brands like to use her for their photo shoots. She is promoted by the company of director Chen Kaige. Through Chen Ran, we hope to elevate the high fashion style of the movie. Other than clothes, sometimes fashion is conveyed through personality and stature, and Chen Ran has a refined temperament.
In the movie, the actors do not wear flashy clothes, but the clothes are from this year’s fall/winter collection of major international brands. This year, there is a revival of vintage fashion so colours are predominantly dark blue, coffee, dark green, etc. This is aligned with the colour tone of our movie which is set in early autumn and consistent with the movie’s warm European style.
Reporter: What do you expect from the audience?
Guo: Modern women have a hard time; often times many forget what being in love feels like. We hope that through this movie, we can re-ignite this feeling of love among the audience. After watching this movie we hope to make people yearn for love. We also hope that many men who shower attention on their lover or wife can accompany them to the theatres (to watch this movie).
Source: Beijing Evening News – Beiing Evening News New Vision Net Repoter Wang Jinyue
(Credits: www.takefoto.cn; http://weibo.com; English translation by Nance. Thanks!)