Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conversations with T.F. Mou continues, working on the segment about his early film career now. Hunting around for old Taiwanese martial arts films to use as archive footage as to what was mostly produced back then. In one of his most famous interviews, he mentions a film called Give Us Back Our Country. I weirdly pictured it as being some kind of propaganda film on the horrors of communist China and asked Mou about it back in July, it's actually an epic period piece based on a very beloved Chinese legend. The reason the Taiwanese government supported it very vigorously was because the story, set during China's ancient Warring States period, concerns countryment of a peaceful state who lose their homeland to a hostile one and must fight to get it back, something the Chinese population of Taiwan empathized heavily with. In the West it was retitled Fire Bulls and is a 1966 production and actually pretty easy to find on region 1 DVD. Bizarrely enough, I already hunted down Fire Bulls as the film I was going to show because it's directed by Pai Ching-jui and Lee Chia who were two of Mou's mentors in the 60s Taiwan film industry, not knowing that it actually was the aforementioned Give Us Back Our Country just under a different title.For this week's gift, here's a cool, rare Hong Kong lobby card for Men Behind the Sun. It shows one visually lush scene, of the 731 Youth Corp marching by a seashore, that was cut. The lobby cards, stills and behind the scenes photo albums Mou shared with me show a couple scenes here and there that were obviously cut from the film. I'm sure how much gore was cut from the movie, Mou hinted that he had shot some footage of the boy's face being dissected in the autopsy scene (picture the "face pull off" scene in Ebola Syndrome, but with a real child's corpse) but cut that because he thought it was just too shocking. Most of the cuts to the film appear to be character scenes for pacing purposes, there's also a scene where the young soldiers are given a lesson in bacteria with microscopes in a classroom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Work on Conversations with T.F. Mou continues. I'm where I was before, more or less, when I left off but the result is even nicer. I used more appropriate archive footage and did a bit of recutting to make you "feel it" more. I'm also doing the sound a little differently, using both the lav mics and in-camera mics tracks at once to make it "richer" and more natural.

I'm pleased to announce that the narration of the film will be performed by Charli Henley or Little Red Riding Hood herself. It's very appropriate that Red narrate a film about the director of the Wolf's favorite movie for watching on the lonely nights.

Our gift this week is a picture of T.F. Mou and his current wife around the time of their wedding circa the late 70s.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I seem to have almost forgotten to post this.

Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets is a hilarious early film of mine. I never completed it because I felt kind of bad about it, but now I think it's hysterically funny and wish I had. I just didn't have the discipline, naturally, at 15 that I had now to finish a movie like this. I feel much more sorry about The Magic Forest which had more anger and less humor in it and tries too hard to shock though the Dave Luce clown stuff I have pride in. I posted the above to YouTube mostly as an experiment in shock value and how that can garner hits. My YouTube channel, though it's content is far superior, is still far below it's former glory in viewership. Perhaps I should be happy because a. despite what the internet has taught people, life is not a popularity contest and is not judged by your video's YouTube views and b. if an audience stops viewing my channel because I won't give the new cuts away in their entirety, these viewers are not the audience I need, deserve or otherwise.

Interestingly, some elements from Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets became "cinememes" of mine that were later recycled in future films even if the film itself was never completed and released. The film was basically to be a puppet version of the Sada Abe story, like if Peter Jackson in full Meet the Feebles mode directed In the Realm of the Senses. The film was to climax (no pun intended) with the main puppet character (played by that old man monkey that Ryan Murphy would depressingly run into the ground years later in at least two dozen of his videos) having his penis severed and screaming/dying as ketchup gushes from his groin. The penis was to then be thrown out the window of a car ala Lorena Bobbitt and then eaten by a stray dog. I kept the sick idea of a castrated member being eaten by animals in my mind and put it into the climax of Little Red Riding Hood for the Wolf's punishment. The Wolf didn't die, by the way, I've finally decided. He was left alive but minus his arm and penis, which will make masturbation and child molestation a little tough for him from here henceforth. I have contemplated a sequel where he returns for revenge with a rebuilt Tetsuo-style machine dick, but I can't think of a strong enough story around that, it's beating a dead horse and Dave and I aren't speaking to each and there's no Wolf without Dave.

Another idea from Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets that I later used more legitimately is the sequence in the new cut of Dream House where The Beast is masturbating outside as the Thomsons have sex. I wanted to do that scene in the original shoot but I wanted Dave to be physically seen and he was unavailable that day and Ryan advised me not to go so far. But I remembered it when recutting the film and redid that scene with that motif instead of sort of half spoofing a bad softcore porno to make it disturbing instead of corny. The visual motif of semen splashing on something is taken from Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets, there was a (mostly unfilmed) scene I had in mind where Wheezy, the old man monkey puppet, watches a porno on TV while his hooker girlfriend (the same puppet later used as Miranda the Monkey in The Magic Forest) is out and about. His semen was to hit the TV screen in the same way.

Then, there's a fully filmed scene in Puppets where Wheezy goes to see "The Wizard" for help just like Barry in Magic Forest. And the whorehouse was pimped by a clown behind the scenes, something I had forgotten about until just now. How weird is that? It's like these weird, fetishistic "cinememes" like to stay in my subconscious and end up in my movies just through near-manifestation. In all of the above examples, I wasn't really thinking "How can I put a homage to Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets in here?", I just thought of it more coincidentally almost.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Work proceeds smashingly on Conversations with T.F. Mou, have recut the opening montage completely and am working on the early interview segments once more. Much happier with it than the first pre-hard drive failure version. The narration (most likely with Deirdre) will probably be recorded soon, which is good, I was going to do the rough cut with my own voice but I'll probably just get to cut the narration right into the film, which means less work.

Our gift this week is an incredibly rare photo from Mou's very first film, I Didn't Dare Tell You, made in Taiwan in 1969. It's a black and white work about a father and son living in impoverished Taipei that shows a very strong Vittorio DeSica influence. It still exists in print form I believe, so a DVD release is possible, if not terribly likely due to the film's obscure status (it isn't even on IMDb, which for years credited Mou's first work as being A Deadly Secret).

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

As far as our weekly report for Conversations with T.F. Mou goes, things are on the move again. The footage and materials have largely been recompiled once more and I'm going to start chopping away at it and recreating the first 8 minutes today in fact.

One particularly cool artifact I snagged in the midst of my research at the Boston Public Library was a still from, oh yes, T.F. Mou's first 1969 outing I Didn't Dare Tell You.

For your viewing pleasure (or otherwise) this week, here's a still that pretty much proves that the cat scene is fake showing a technician, with Mou looking over his shoulder, painting the sedated kitty with fake blood, which was apparently a honey mixture that they rats simply licked off the animal.