PHOTOS BY NICK D FOR PRECURSORPRINTS.COM
INTERPRETED BY JIN TAO
SPECIAL THANKS TO AGNES B
杜可风。王家卫。 PNC的(Patna’s In Crime),千丝万缕的关联。如果你不曾看过他们的作品,那真的是你的损失,因为你错过了一些伟大的电影。许多人说,杜可风主要是负责电影的画风,而他创造的多是美好的视觉盛宴。杜先生近日携手Agnes B.举办的作品展览,是一次千载难逢的机会,为你全面解析这位电影人的过去,现在,与未来!
Christopher Doyle. Wong Kar Wai. PNC’s (Patna’s In Crime), inextricably linked. If you’ve haven’t seen their ouvre of work, you are seriously missing some great, great cinema. Many say Chris is chiefly responsible for the look of those movies, and dem tings are some real visual stunna’s. Mr. Doyle recently held an exhibition of his artwork with Agnes B. and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to chop it up with the man about all things past, present, and future!
< English Continued after the Chinese >
杜可风 – 这是我一直以来很避讳的话题。我不喜欢成为别人眼中的艺术家。你看这儿（指向他展览的一幅作品），我做了一件叫，为什么我不是画家的作品，根据Frank O’hara的一首诗而联想的。对我来说，艺术就是艺术家做的。所以，关键不是自称为艺术家，而是成为艺术家。那么如果其他人对此有任何观点，如果他们认为这可行，或者他们认为能与之联系，或能够刺激他们，或令他们感到好奇……那么，这就足够了。对我来说，这是我的日常生活。当我看到Steve McQueen的装置作品，我会说，“嘿，这我能一天做100次！只不过是你把它变慢了。”所以我一直不喜欢说把东西拿出来展览就一定是珍贵，是有先见之明，或者比我们每天做的电影场景更有价值的这种想法。所以对我来说做这个（展），这是表达（我的）投入的一种方式。由于Agnes B，（是）我的一个老朋友，我感到责任重大，知道她参与投资了一部影片，在该空间以及该领域。所以对我来说这是我首次呈现一个艺术家的夹克，帽子或是鞋子。这才是真正差别所在，但我还是把自己当成一个电影制片人居多。如果你觉得有些电影是艺术的话，那么我非常感激。如果你认为它们是垃圾，我也会欣然接受。但我不会放弃做电影！
SG – 那么摄影与拍电影能被称为艺术吗？
CD – 恩，圈外人称之为第七艺术。在欧洲许多社区，它确是如此。即便希区柯克将特吕弗提升到了艺术家的高度。可他在美国人眼里还是一个Shlop Master。如果我们产生一种共鸣或者诗歌的感觉……在视觉上它会接近其它艺术形式的体验。它在哪，它是什么。它有它自己的诗情画意。它能同色彩产生共鸣，或者它拥有一种定义你的韵律，它将你带入，那么它便是艺术。可是有那么多人……90％的电影业人士是出来赚钱的，他们仍然不赚钱！对不对？所以同样，你不能强求自己做艺术，你只能做自己所做的。这才是关键。如果它达到那种程度，无论是被称为，和谐，和平，精明，或明朗……只要能找到一种声音。那么它可能衍生为一种特别的东西。例如以我与王家卫做电影的经验来说，我们每每做的电影基本都像“花样年华”，就像在雕琢一般。你过滤掉所有的东西，那么剩下的就是精华。至少已经非常接近你想表达但是从未有方法表达的东西，就是如此，它需要时间！虽然有些人很快达到这种程度。比如莫扎特，或者Steve McQueen，还有许多人已经在那儿了，但我们大多数人，我们要学会去芜存青。这才是真正的过程。
SG – 我觉得每个人都有自己的定义，然而本质上正如你所说是一个去芜存青的过程。
CD – 还有就是，不要试图成为别人！不要试图称为杜可风。想都不用想的！因为首先，这不像你想的那么有趣！其次，你得很会喝。然后，你还得不停地四处奔波。我的意思是，为什么要成为我呢！我还有不想做我自己的时候呢！关键就是，要做自己，并坚定这一点。你也变不了自己是谁的事实……
SG – 所以，做好自己！
CD – 做好自己！你想要改变？没问题！让自己变成人妖就行……这样你就与众不同了！想都别想……做你自己吧！可能比你想象中所花费的时间要长！他们可能会在艺术学校或电影学院什么的告诉你，只要你毕业就能成为一个超级巨星，但事实并非如此。这是谎言。现在的教育就是一个谎言。因此你要自我学习，自我了解。
SG – 这个展出是否有一个统一的主题呢？
CD – 你指什么？这里只有5个不同的女性。你觉得是关于什么的呢？我没有让她们在同一时间过来！有几个人见到过，也有其他人在这儿，他们也不介意（他指的应该是在他艺术作品中出现的明星。）。他们认为这是艺术，他们不觉得这是承诺。这当然是承诺！这就是所谓的…借Willie Nelson的一首歌，“我没来这里，我不会离开”。说的是Willie Nelson因为喝醉了被赶出了酒吧。所以基本上这就是我与电影，艺术，女性，香港的关系。主要是跟香港的关系。一方面是因为AgnesB参与了我的电影BENDS？还有就是衍生BENDS隐喻的借口吧？像乌龟……我想应该叫它萨满教修行。不属于佛教，只是民间修行。当你放生乌龟，你便给予了生命是积德。我认为这也是艺术家的责任，将自己所得回馈给别人。那么你得到的是什么？对我来说，是香港。香港给了我太多。没有香港就没有我的今天。如果没有我生活的地方和我生活的方式也就没有我们的电影。
SG – 艺术是你电影工作之外独立存在的吗？还是说就是全部的杜可风？
CD – 不……我回家的时候，会想做拼贴画，也会想写作。 做电影是如此苛刻。有太多的人……我拍一部电影要跟1600个人共事。 90％的人我要照顾。 90％的人我要与他们交谈。某种意义上说我要带领他们，这真是让人筋疲力尽。为了一大群人需要付出很大的能量。真实的人，回家就做。或跟朋友共进晚餐，或者看一部好电影，抑或是以某种方式放松自己。而我回家，会做拼贴画，这是我的治愈方式。你需要入老僧入定般进入那种不思考任何问题的状态。用普通话说就是，“不经大脑”。换句话说，就是潜移默化。完全是不经计划，油然而生的比如说颜色，或是形式？它该是什么就是什么。对我而言，这是莫大的收益。就像我们之前说的，有些事情我自己来做的话便是顺理成章的，那便是最重要的事情…因为某些事物在生成过程中揭示了某些你用其它方式得不出的东西。
SG – 经验的累积？
CD – 当然它是基于经验与对自己的信任。也基于某种方式的进一步自我要求。同时也基于彻底放松成为真实的自己。这并不舒服，但我已经习惯了。正如这幅作品，看看这两人。他们已经习惯了对方。
SG – 我在开幕时没有看到过这幅作品。
CD – 这是杜可风，这是Duke of Von。Duke of Von觉得杜可风是个垃圾。他们有很多共同的乐趣。
这是Ai Wei Wei剃光了我的脑袋。 F * CKER。
SG – 我正想问你呢，对电影而言电影摄影师是哪种存在？是设置灯光？取景构图？
CD – 不，它们就就如同电影怒海争锋的关系。我是Russell Crowe。你有一定的结构，但你必须得是指挥官。我觉得这与领导关系，和决策能力，以及理解他人的步调相关。也与应对天气，计算电影成本相关。所有这些事都要考虑到。不仅仅是图像。太多了。
SG – 不仅仅是照明…
CD – 当然。但是，如果你没有任何灯光，你该怎么办？像你刚才这样，站在窗边。所以，它关乎于适应性，它是直觉。它具有物理性质，尤其是因为我长时间与摄影机为伍。所有事情都要考虑到。电影预算，金钱。传统的故事片需要……嗯，这个展览并没花钱。所以，没花钱也是钱。如果涉及大量金钱则是另一种不同的责任。但最终，这与互动参与有关。你得给他人的成长和贡献的空间，而不是一味地说“不，不，不，要按照我的方式去做。”我不能光在山上放一盏灯而没有队员吧？我们必须谦卑，这不是你一个人的演出。
SG – 能谈谈Ai Wei Wei的MV吗？你们是如何合作制作这段视频的？
CD – 哦，我们已经相识很久了。我的世界中，崔健是我的第一个大陆朋友。赖声川是我的第一个台湾朋友。它们的发生就是自然而然的。我跟Jim Jarmusch在合作之前就已经是朋友了。Gus van Sant. 还有Steve McQueen，我们都是先从朋友做起的。有机会就一起合作，就是那么简单。时机到了，就一起做一些事。当然，我们都认为以我们不同的方式表达出来是很重要的。他觉得我很浪漫，真的，他总批判我过于浪漫，可是为生活创造美也是一种政治与社会责任。我觉得即便如此，他仍是尊重我的。你知道当有人站出来如此勇敢和无畏对你说出这样的话真是一种莫大的荣幸。还有一些其它的事情要完成…我们都在北京。当然这不是最安全的。我所有的朋友都喜欢，“哦，上帝，你在做什么Chris？”很多人都在说，不要把Wei Wei带来，因为他现在的状态比较敏感。连我们的电话都被监听了…
SG – 你对NSA说了什么吗？
CD – 我直接撂脏话，就是你平时听到的那些。
SG – HAHAH。这也正是艺术！也许很多你丢失的卷宗都在那儿！
CD – 哦，是的，我觉得他们肯定有那样的东西。一定是一份非常有趣的卷宗。
SG – 你以前以及未来都会一直在香港拍摄作品吗？
CD – 有一段时间……因为电影制作的经济现实，还有不断变化的人口，我们在中国做了很多的东西。现在我仍在大陆做很多东西。过去的一两年，我遇到了特别奇妙的香港年轻合作者…这过去的一年，我们已经合作了三部香港电影。是啊，我刚导演了一部我个人的作品。接着还有至少3，4部作品要来，我觉得真得很棒。我为孩子们感到骄傲，我称他们为我的孩子们，他们才20，26岁。他们都是孩子因为我是香港电影界的老古董！这真的很棒，他们信任我成为他们作品的一部分，他们知道我会为他们提供一点点经验有助于他们把事情做到更好，更高效。同时，他们有一种与我截然不同的视角与生活体验。显然，他们想要表达的内容与我想要表达的是很不一样的。这很美妙，我为我的合作人们感到自豪。他们已经成长为了令我自豪的人，他们本身也非常有自信。
SG – 能不能分享一下香港作为你的视觉调色板的灵感来源。
CD – 能量，气场，噪音，撞色。这就是为什么我早期的电影是那样呈现的，那是一种自然的反射。人们说，“这种风格太惊艳了。”不，这就是香港！就是这么回事。因为亲密的空间，所以人与人要和睦相处。我没有过多言语，但女人是海。香港也是海。如此接近大海，作为港口城市也是极为重要的，因为我从小在海边长大。我觉得城市生活的强度与上船说走就走之间的平衡……是非常重要的。即便是在Star游轮上有时也是十分惬意的！
SG – 什么样的故事会让杜可风上船呢？
CD – 不是故事，是人。一切都与人有关。就像我说的，我很自豪去年完成了三部港片，因为有那些人。有些故事都还好，有的故事是天才。我自己的作品也是如此，这是我们的使命，不多不少。你看过多少莎士比亚的电影？故事都还不错，他们已经流传了400或500年… …
SG – 确实如此。
CD – 虽然只有两三部著名的莎士比亚电影，但人们一直在不断尝试翻新版本！对我来说，不是故事，是人，是合作，是能量，是意图。一起共事人的正直以及分享美好时光的乐趣。如果我不喜欢王家卫，我怎么可能花这么多时间与他共事？所以无关乎电影，但这可能只是我个人想法…
SG – 能谈谈你工作的即兴性吗。
CD – 错误，将错误化为一种风格。
SG – 漂亮！
CD – 犯错，但任由它们去，人们会称之为风格。
SG – 生猛是否也是你风格的重要组成部分？
CD – 强韧性还是生猛？
SG – 生猛，我想的视觉风格上的。
CD – 我一再强调，如果还没破就不需要修缮。当然，有时也有需要注意一些技术方面的东西，但基本上只需要应对已存在的东西。我认为这是一个非常香港化或是是中国化的东西，是过程的有机性质。比如你不会去油漆的街道。你不会因为自己是艺术家就去亮起50盏灯或者将街道粉刷成绿色。如果条街是灰色的，那么就去适应它。选择地点和了解气候也是一样，都与适应性以及过程的有机性相关。这和我的作品Night Shayamalan正好相反，所有一切都是人为的。非常，非常西方化，特别美国化。一切就如同“我是对的”。一切人为的东西，都具有非常明确特定的目标，我觉得生活不该那样。生活对于我是有机的。你不知道10年后自己会在哪！我们甚至不知道10年后这血腥都市是否还依然矗立！看看北京。没人会想到有一天你看不到红绿灯是因为雾霾！ 50米！这还挺好的因为警察也看不到你…….所以也没人给你开罚单……你也不能开快车因为太危险了……
SG – HAHAH。
CD – 你随波逐流。这是亚洲的特点，也很符合生命的过程，所以，这赋予你了很大的自由度。电影的正确视野是开阔的，不仅仅关于风格。
SG – 与王家卫合作是否充分激发了你的潜能？
CD – 他总是说，“Chris，你就这点水平吗？”
SG – 哈哈。
CD – 这是公平的。有时候你会回骂回去！是的，我就这点水平啊，操。或许有时候也会说，嗯，也许我可以做的更好。就是这样，这就够了。每个人都应该会问自己这样的问题。特别是在床上。
SG – HAHAH。
CD – 要啤酒吗？
SG – 当然。嘿，你正好触及到了一点。好莱坞能从亚洲电影学到什么吗？
CD – 耐心。 HAHAH。谦卑乃是很好的一门学问。两天前在上海有人问我，他们是一家非常非常优秀的美国公司，在上海设了点。他说，“你知道哪个中国导演能让我们赚到10亿吗？”HAHAH。我回答， “那你知道哪个美国导演能让我赚10亿吗？”滚犊子。
SG – 你们都是当局者！
CD – 别紧张，你们花了150年时间糟蹋了世界。但，中国的好处是它的经济规模。每一个部门，即便是资源保护，野生动物保护部门，都比世界任何地方的相同部门都要庞大！房地产，色情产业…哦我说了什么……年轻女性沉迷享乐……HAHAH。事物改变的规模远超于世界任何一个地方！
SG – 你认为自己还算成功吗？
CD – 嗯，我做采访时通常会得到一瓶免费啤酒的招待！还有什么可奢求的呢？ HAHAH。回答问题的唯一方法就是，你最好的电影是哪部。以及，你的下一部电影是什么。这就是生活之道！我从来不会对女性说，你最棒的一次恋爱？你不能说你是下一次。只能说你是唯一！
SG – HAHAH。
CD – 有一个83岁的人叫（Alexander Joberovski）。高手，天才。他出生在东欧，长在在智利，住在法国。他做了4，5部惊人的电影。然后在大约一年前，他84岁了。他20年没做一部电影。他说到一起做一部电影，因为我们认识很久很久了，因为资金不到位以及其它一些因素没能成功。他不得不用一个法国演员，因为只有法国人愿意投资。所以我不能跟他合作。他说，“别担心Chris，我们下次再合作！”我说，你得坚持住，你都84岁高龄了，而且你每20年才拍一部电影……这意味着下次是104岁……是不是太给力了？但他是认真的。这就是成功！你看过他的电影吗？ 最近一部说的是30个矮人……这仅仅是一个开始！
SG – 资金如何提高创造力？
CD – 钱？ 不能…！我想，对某些人来说它可能为你争取一些时间。对我来说，会怎么办？有多少花多少。大部分人为我花钱比如那免费的啤酒……我甚至不知道我有没有公寓，因为我总是在工作。总有人为我支付酒店住宿费。所以没必要在香港住公寓。我的旧公寓房租是2000美元一个月…钱没有太大作用，没有意义。
SG – 你目前在做什么呢？
CD – 很多。写了几个剧本。刚刚为电影节完成一部电影。与崔健合作了一首舞曲。还有柏林电影节……
SG – 你在不停转动……
CD – 伦敦的一个艺术展。这次展览要去伦敦。
SG – 你最喜欢的粤语或普通话的脏话是哪句？
CD – 脏话？ “我爱你”，HAHAH。
SG – HAHAH！
SPITGAN – What is art to you?
Christopher Doyle – Something I have avoided for a long time. I’ve always hated the idea of being called an artist. See here (points at a piece from his exhibition), I made a piece called, Why I’m Not A Painter, based on a poem by Frank O’hara. To me, art is what artists do. So the point is not to call yourself an artist, it’s to become an artist. Then if other people have an opinion about it; if they think it works, or they think it has some sort of relevance, or it stimulates them, or makes them curious in some way…Ok that’s enough. To me, I do this kinda stuff everyday. Even when I see a Steve McQueen installation, I say, “Hey, I doing that a hundred times a day! You just slowed it down.” So I have a great aversion to the idea that putting something in a gallery is so precious, or prescient, or so much more valuable than what we do everyday on a film set. So for me to do this (the exhibition), this is the (my) most committed in a certain way. Because Agnes B, (is) an old friend, I felt a great responsibility; knowing her investment in film, and in art and in this space. So kinda to me, this is the first time I’ve had to assume the jacket, or the hat or the shoes of an artist. That’s the real difference to me, but I still regard myself as a filmmaker mostly. If you think some of the films are art, thank you very much. If you think they’re crap, that’s ok also. I’m still going to do them!
I’m still going to do collage. Basically it’s a clean up. A clean up of my studio. Get the stuff out ya know. Ha ha, there’s too much clutter. That’s what it’s really about. It’s spring cleaning. Hahah
SG – Can photography, and film be considered art?
CD – Well I mean the fringe called it the 7th art. In many European communities, it does have that. Even Hitchcock was elevated by Truffaut to the status of artist. Americans just thought he was a shlop-master. If what we do has a certain resonance or a certain poetry to it…visually…it goes close to the experience of other forms of art. Where it is, what it is. It has it’s own poetry. It resonates with color, or it has a rhythm that just assumes you; it takes you in. Of course it’s art. So many people…90% of the film industry is out to make money and they still don’t make money! Right?! So you can’t try to make art, you just have to be there. That’s the thing. It’s getting to that level, whatever it’s called, harmony, or peace, or astuteness, or lucidity…finding a voice basically. Then it may be something special. I think for example, from my experience with the films I did with Wong Kar Wai, every film we did before it built up to ‘In The Mood For Love’. basically. What it was was like sculpting. You take away all the other stuff, what’s left is most essential. At least most close to what you want to say but never found a way to say before. I think That’s what happened. And it takes time! Some people hit it immediately. Like Mozart, or maybe Steve McQueen, or there are people who are just there already, but most of us, we have to cut away the BS. That’s the real process.
SG – Some people have definitions, but I think it boils down to an essence as you say.
CD – Don’t try to be someone else! Don’t try to be Christopher Doyle. Don’t even think about it! Cuz first of all, it’s not even that much fun! Secondly, you have to drink a lot. Thirdly, you have to travel all the time. I mean, why do you want to be me! I don’t want to be me sometimes! The point is, be yourself and be sure of that. Your stuck with that little boy between your legs you know…
SG – So work with it!
CD – Work with it! You want to go and change? Go ahead! Make yourself a ladyboy…that’s the most important thing. You are different! Don’t even try…Be yourself! It may take a lot longer than you’ve hoped! They might have told you in art school or film school whatever, that as soon as you graduate your going to become a superstar but that’s not true. That’s a lie. Education nowadays is a lie. So you have to educate yourself. You have to educate yourself to learn about yourself.
SG – This show. Is there a unifying theme to it?
CD – What do you mean? There are only like 5 different women here. What do you think it’s about? I don’t let them all come at the same time! A couple of the people here have seen there are other people here also, and they don’t really mind (I believe he is referring to movie stars, as there are a few he has used for his art pieces.). They think it’s art, they don’t think its commitment. Of course it’s commitment! It’s called…it’s a song from Willie Nelson, ‘I Didn’t Come Here And I’m Not Leaving’. So Willie Nelson is getting thrown out of a bar because he’s drunk basically. So it’s basically my relationship with film, with art, with women, with Hong Kong. Mostly I think it’s mostly about Hong Kong. Partly because Agnes B was involved in my film BENDS? Partly it was an excuse to extend the metaphor of BENDS? Like the turtle…I guess you call it shamanistic practice. It’s not Buddhist, it’s a folk practice. When you release the turtles, your giving back life. I think that’s the responsibility of an artist, to give back what has been given to you. And what has been given to you? To me it has been Hong Kong. Hong Kong has given me so much. I wouldn’t have been here without Hong Kong. Our films wouldn’t be the way they are if I didn’t live where I lived.
These things are all spontaneous (describing his exhibition). We just took a camera, or even a phone and enjoyed being together and making something personal. That’s the question. That’s what we are talking about. If it’s personal, it might be universal. It is like Chi, the engagement of Chi. Every time on a film set…I only think there are 3 people in cinema cuz if you don’t feel that I love you…How will the audience feel that I love you? How will the audience go so deeply into Maggie’s (Cheung) eyes if I wasn’t there to help you? That’s the great learning of filmmaking, is that I am always the closest person to the actor but I have to give her support, or him support…forget about the guys…except Leslie, Leslie counts! But forget about the others. Women, you have to give them support, you have to give them encouragement. They have to feel that you trust them, that they trust you. You have to feel that you love them, in a certain way. Then they will share that with you, and through you the audience! Basically I am just a bridge. That’s the great honor, and great learning of cinematography, or any art form. That you have to be there, yet you shouldn’t be there. You shouldn’t intrude. That’s the balance I’m talking about. ‘I didn’t Come Here And I’m Not Leaving’, this is my life! This is what I do. It comes from this city. It comes from these people and I’m not going to give it up.
SG – Is the art separate from your film work? Or is it all Christopher Doyle?
CD – Noooo… I go home and I want to make a collage, I want to write. A film set is so demanding. There’s all these people…I’ve been on a film set with 1600 people. 90% I have to take care of. 90% I have to talk to them. I have to lead them in some way. So that’s exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to keep that energy up for a large number of people. Real people, they go home and f*ck. Or they have a good meal with their friends, or they watch a good movie, or relax in some way. I go home and I make collage. It’s therapy. You have to get into kind of a zen state of not thinking things through. In Putunghua they say, ‘不經大腦’ (bo jing dai lau), it means, ‘don’t go through the big head’. In other words, don’t think it out, just let it come through. With things like the colors, or the way it takes form, it’s not totally planned. It’s instinctive? It’s just letting it be what it is. For me that’s extremely rewarding. Like we were saying before, maybe there is something I do that is appropriate to who I am, and that is the most important thing…Maybe there is something in the physical process of making that reveals something you wouldn’t know any other way.
SG – A culmination of experience?
CD – Of course it’s based on experience and trusting yourself. It’s also based on asking more of yourself in a certain way. It’s also based on relaxing into who you are. It’s not very comfortable. I’m used to it. Like this piece, have a look at these two. They’re used to each other.
SG – No, I didn’t see this piece at the opening.
CD – This is Christopher Doyle and this is Duke of Von. Duke of Von thinks Christopher Doyle is a piece of sh*t. They have a lot of fun together.
This is after Ai Wei Wei shaved my head. F*cker.
SG – I want to ask you about that too…To film what is a cinematographer? Are you setting lights? Framing shots?
CD – No it’s master and commander. I’m Russell Crowe. You have a certain structure, but you have to be the commander. I think it’s very much about leadership. It’s about being decisive. It’s about understanding other peoples rhythms. It’s about responding to the weather. It’s about realizing how much the film costs. It’s all those things. It’s not just pictures. Not at all.
SG – It’s not just lighting…
CD – Of course. But if you don’t have any lights what do you do? Like you did just now. You stand by the window. So it’s about adaptability, it’s intuitive. It has a physical nature, especially since I handle the camera all the time. It’s all those things. It’s budget, it’s money. A traditional feature film takes…well this didn’t take any money (the exhibition). So no money is also money. A lot of money is a different responsibility. Ultimately it’s about engagement. It’s about giving others the space to grow, and to make their contribution instead of saying, “No, no, no, do it my way.” I couldn’t put a lamp on top of a hill without a crew to do it right? Be humble about that. It’s not just your gig.
SG – Can you tell us about the Ai Wei Wei music video? How that came about, and how that was collaborating with him?
CD – Well because we’ve known each other forever. In my world 崔健 (Trai Jen) is my first Chinese friend 17:39. Stan Lai is my first Taiwanese friend. How does that happen? It just happens. Jim Jarmusch was a friend before we collaborated. Gus van Sant. Even Steve McQueen. We were friends first before. Maybe there is a chance to do something together. It’s as simple as that. It was a chance to do something together. Of course we believed it was important to speak out…in our different ways. He thinks I’m a romantic. He really does. He always criticizes me for being too romantic, but bringing beauty to life is also a political and social responsibility. I think he respects that even though he takes the piss out of me. You know for someone to speak out with such bravery and fearlessness is an astonishing privilege to be a part of. There’s a couple of other things coming so…
We were both in Beijing. Of course it wasn’t the safest thing. All my friend were like, “Oh God, what are you doing Chris?” A lot of people were saying, don’t bring Wei Wei to the party cuz, you know, there’s a certain sensitivity to his status. You know our phones are all tapped so…
SG – What are you saying to the NSA?
CD – I talk dirty…you want to hear some…stuff…you know.
SG – Hahah. That’s where the art is! Maybe a lot of your lost archives be out there!
CD – Oh yes. They must have a thing like that on me. They must have a really interesting dossier.
SG – Is Hong Kong a place that you have, and continue to shoot most of your work?
CD – There is a period…because of the economic reality of filmmaking, and the changing demographic, we did a lot of stuff in China. I still do a lot of stuff in China. Yet the last year or two because I have such wonderful, collaborative…young Hong Kong collaborators who really…this last year we’ve done three Hong Kong films together. Yeah. I just directed one of my own. There’s at least 3 or 4 more coming and I think that’s really great. I feel very proud of the kids. I call them my kids, they’re 20, 26 years old. They’re kids cuz I’m the oldest relic in the Hong Kong film industry! I think it’s really wonderful that they trust me to be part of their work and they know I bring at least a little bit of experience that helps to get things done. To be a bit more efficient. At the same time they have a vision, or a life experience, a visual, so different from mine. Obviously they have something so different to say than what I would say. It’s really beautiful. I’m very proud of the people I have collaborated with. They’ve grown into this and they’re very assertive.
SG – Describe Hong Kong as an inspiration. As a visual palette for you.
CD – Energy. Chi. Noise. Clash of colors. That’s why the early films are the way they are. It was a response to what was there. People say, “Oh that’s an astonishing style.” No, it’s Hong Kong! I think that’s the thing. The intimacy of space, and the way we have to get along with each other. To me, I didn’t say much about it, but women are the sea. Hong Kong is the sea. The fact that we are so close to the sea. The fact that it is a port is very important because I grew up by the sea. I think that balance between intensity of city life and the possibility of just getting on board and just going…I think that balance is very important. Even the Star Ferry can be very relaxing at times!
SG – Nowadays what sort of stories get Christopher Doyle on board?
CD – It’s not the story, it’s the people. It’s always the people. Like I say, I’m so proud to have done 3 Hong Kong films in the last year, because of the people. Some of the stories are okay, and some of the stories are genius. The same with my own stuff. It’s just we got to do it, nothing more or less. How many Shakespearean films have you seen? The stories are pretty good, they’ve lasted for 4 or 500 years…
SG – True.
CD – It’s only like 2 or 3 (great) Shakespearean films, but people try all the time! To me it’s not the story. It’s the people. It’s the collaboration. It’s the energy, it’s the intent. The intengrity of the people you work with and the pleasure of sharing some time together. Why would I spend so much time with Wong Kar Wei if I didn’t like the guy? It’s not about the films really. I mean he might thing it is…
SG – Talk about improvisation in your work.
CD – Mistakes. Take the mistakes and call them style.
SG – Nice!
CD – Make the mistakes, go with them, and people will call it style.
SG – Rawness. Is this a big part of your style?
CD – Abrasiveness or rawness?
SG – Rawness. Cuz I think about the visual style of it.
CD – Again. Don’t fix it if it’s not broken. Of course sometimes there are certain technical things you need to be aware of but you know. Basically respond to what’s there. I think that’s a very Hong Kong thing also, or a Chinese thing. The organic nature of the process. You don’t go and paint the street. You don’t go and put 50 lights up and paint the street green just because we’re artists. The street is going to be grey, so adapt to that. It’s very much about choosing locations and understanding the weather. Its about adaptability, the organic nature of the process. I think it’s the opposite of my work with Night Shyamalan, where everything is contrived. I think that’s very, very western. Especially very American. Everything’s like, “I’m right”. Everything’s contrived, everything’s for a very specific purpose and I don’t think life is like that. I think life is organic. You don’t know where you will be in 10 years! We don’t even know if the bloody city will be here in 10 years! Look at Beijing. No one imagined you can’t see the traffic lights because of the smog! 50 meters.! Which Is great because the police can’t see you either…so no body gets booked…First of all you can’t speed anymore cuz it’s too dangerous…
SG – Hahah.
CD – You go with the flow you know. I think that’s very much an Asian thing, and very much to a life process, so that gives you a lot of freedom. The right view of filmmaking is a broad view, and it’s not just about style.
SG – Does working with Wong Kar Wai bring out the best in you?
CD – He always says, “is that all you can do Chris?”
SG – Haha.
CD – That’s fair. Then sometimes you say f*ck you! And yes, that’s all I can do. And maybe sometimes you say, hmmm maybe I can do better. That’s it. That’s enough. One should always be asking the same thing of himself. Especially in bed.
SG – Hahah.
CD – Want a beer?
SG – Sure. Hey, you sort of touched on this. What can Hollywood learn from Asian filmmaking?
CD – Patience. Hahah. Humility would be a really good thing to learn. Somebody asked me 2 days ago in Shanghai, from a very very good American company, that set up shop in Shanghai. He said, “so do you know any Chinese director who could make us 100 million?” Hahah. I said, “do you know any American director that could make me a 100 million?” F*ck off.
China is going through a similar stage. It’s about time. I have no objection…Chinese people going super materialistic, super money mad for this short period of time cuz it’s never happened right? So who the f*ck is anyone else to criticize that. Every 10 years, everything changes. So it’s changing this way, don’t worry. It’ll change to another way, in another time. So f*ck off. Let us be materialistic. Let us indulge. Let us destroy the environment and then fix it within 10 years. Stand back and just watch.
SG – You guys were participants!
CD – Relax. You guys f*cked over the world for 150 years. So you know, hey. The good thing about China is the economies of scale. Every sector, even if it’s conservation, even if it’s wildlife replenishment, it’s such a big sector compared to anywhere else in the world! Real estate, prostitition…oh what did I say…young women enjoying their inmates…hahah. It’s bigger than anything in the world. The scale changes things much more dramatically!
SG – Do you consider yourself fairly successful?
CD – Well I get a free beer when I do an interview! What more do you want? Hahah. The only way to answer that is what is your best film. And the only way to answer that is your next film. That’s the only way to live! I’d never say that to women though. What is your best love? Your not supposed to say the nest one. Your supposed to say your the one!
SG – Hahah.
CD – There’s a guy called (Alexander joberovski 31:41?). 83 years old. Master. Genius. He was born in Eastern Europe. Grew up in Chile. Lives in France now. He made 4 or 5 astonishing films. And then about a year ago, he was 84 years old. He hadn’t made a film for 20 years. He was talking about doing a film together because we’ve known each other forever, and it didn’t work out because the money wasn’t coming through, and this and that. And he had to use a French crew because he was getting money from France. So I couldn’t shoot it with him. He says, “don’t worry Chris, we’ll do the next one together!” I said, hold on. Your 84 years old. You only make a film every 20 years…that means when your 104…isn’t that a f*cking wonderful thing to hear? He’s really serious. That’s successful! Have you ever seen one of his films? The latest one starts with 30 crippled dwarves…That’s just the beginning!
SG – How does money improve creativity?
CD – Money?! Nah..I guess for some people it may give you some time you know. To me, what are you going to do? You’re only going to spend as much as you have. Most of the other people spending money for me like the free beers…I don’t even know if I have an apartment anymore cuz I’m always working. Someone is always paying for a hotel. There’s no point to having an apartment in HK. My old apartment costs 2000 US dollars a month so…money doesn’t do much. It doesnt matter.
SG – Currently what are you working on?
CD – Everything. Written a couple of scripts. Just finished a film for the film festival. Did a dance music piece with 崔健 (Trai Jen). Berlin Film Fest…
SG – Your rolling…
CD – Art exhibition in London. This exhibition will go to London.
SG – What are your favorite swear words in cantoniese and mandarin?
CD – Swear words? ‘我愛你’ (Wo ai nee, I love you) hahah.
SG – Hahah!