Friday, 30 October 2015


I have been working on the score of Warmth for the past two weeks now, and finally realise how challenging it is to compose a score for a film, as opposed to dance, theatre, or even songs. It may also depend on the role the director allows music to play in the film. My part came much later in the process, so the music can only be descriptive. That is the hardest for me. I have read how Bernard Herrmann used to compose his scores for Hitchcock: he would discuss the role of the music at length before the shooting, he would be present during the shooting. His music would influence way the editing or even the story would be told.
As I said to a friend yesterday, I feel I am just writing musical prêt-à-porter for the film. Jay is open to what I may suggest to him, but since the film is already shot and edited when I came into the picture (no pun intended), he had also already built a map of musical references in his head, consciously or not, which makes it trickier for me to find my place in the film.  
I encountered a similar situation during my last failed collaboration with Jo two years ago: the music of Captive Queen was to follow the structure of Sibelius’ work bar by bar, which left me no room for expressing myself musically. Captive I was too. I also know that I didn’t have the technical compositional means to rise up to the challenge. A Stravinsky I ain’t, alas!

Jay has faith. I am still searching for new ways to give the film a truly personal sonic mood, away from the usual boring and formulaic cute piano music, and make Jay proud of his new work.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

TIQFF - 2nd edition

Thursday, 29th October 2015

TQIFF this week. Taipei Queer International Film Festival. The second edition. This year is attracting even more people. Jay is very happy, although it is a neverending task to get people interested and compel them to attend one, if not more screenings.
Tonight’s film was Tiger Orange, am American film which received people’s attention as it stars Frankie Valenti, formerly known as Johnny Hazzard, an adult film performer who got his years of fame in the mid-naughties. His performance was surprisingly accurate and well handled, for a film which story was fairly predictable. The simplicity of the plot and the good casting made for a very enjoyable film. Now the question that lingers on many people’s mind, and certainly Frankie Valenti’s is regarding the future of a former gay porn-star. I remember that play I saw in 1996 at the Actors Playhouse in New York, an off-Broadway venture which success grew with the years: Ronnie Larsen’s Making Porn which featured then hot former straight, gay-for-pay porn actor Rex Chandler. The play itself wasn’t that great, too clumsy and self indulgent, but was some sort of path of salvation for some adult film performers who wanted to go ‘legit’. Maybe as a result of my catholic upbringing, I have always been wishing for those performers to find that salvation. Actually, if I have to dig a little deeper, it would be more accurate to say that I have always sided with the outsiders, people who are ill-perceived by the others (as I have been as well) and would always look for the that one unknown aspect of their lives that would prove the mass wrong.  
Frankie Valenti’s performance in Tiger Orange may earn him more film offers as he displays genuine acting potential. I do hope he will be able to cross that line and prove that one’s past does not necessarily define one’s future.
Still related to (gay) porn, the documentary about Chuck Holmes, the founder of the now infamous Falcon Studio which provided joy to many men across the globe and ‘helped’ change and redefine people’s perception – or self-perception of the gay man. Though interesting, the documentary was written and filmed in a very standard way, which didn’t make it very compelling to watch.
Even less compelling was The Second Life of Thieves, by Malaysian director Ming Jin Woo. The idea was interesting: the same story told from two different points of view, something that has been done many time, since Rashomon. However, that story is told by a former lover, and the lover’s daughter who each has a different perception of memory of the events. This could have been enough to make a film, however, the director injected a subplot about the murder of a Burmese girl, some hints about the corruption of the Malaysian government. Cinematography is good – the silent moments and landscape would have been enough to express the full scope of the emotions. Unfortunately, the film seemed to go in all directions – Ming Jin Woo admitted that the original story was different and the film morphed into something different in the course of the shooting. There were some touching moments and some of the actors blew life into their characters, in spite of the chaotic directing.  

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Don't dream it's over

I don’t dream much anymore. No, that isn’t correct. I do dream. I still do. I remember them, though fleetingly, but find it harder to narrate them.   

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

As I was trying to find sleep last night, and was slowly lulled by Max Richter's music, I felt a strong longing to see my family. 

Max Richter's eight-hour long concept album Sleep worked more like drug on me. I had no clue where I was and the music transported me to another dimension, between wake and sleep.

And I recalled how music was always being played at home when I was a child. 

This Dinu Lipatti EP is one of the few records that have remained from the time my mother was a young student in Paris. I made sure to bring it with me to Taiwan when I moved. I can still recall how often she would play it on our small turntable. Dinu Lipatti playing Bach. "Jésus que ma joie demeure", as the French translation goes. Highly precious...

Sunday, 4 October 2015

An old man was dozing peacefully on the MRT, his head resting against the glass window pane, when the sound of an American cavalry bugle startled him awake. It was his wife calling him.