Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.
I have some wonderful new material to share with you courtesy Hugo fan extraordinaire Yvette (@LyridsMC), who has the decided advantage of being fluent in both English and Chinese, and thus can search Chinese social networking sites much more proficiently than I ever could. 😉 (Even on English-language social networking sites, conventional English is rarely spoken ;)… so it's no surprise that slang, idiom and abbreviation dominate such sites in any language. Rendering internet translation engines– which rarely translate between European and Asian languages well to begin with– completely break down.)
So, needless to say, I'm grateful beyond measure for these contributions and the translation assistance. I'll post the original articles in their original, Chinese form first (with accompanying photos) then follow with Yvette's translation. I always think it's important to share or link to the original material for full context. Original source links are also provided.
!. Meeting the Directors
@墨殊快振作(http://weibo.com/u/1928813853) (all 3 parts)
Part (1) Meeting the Directors:
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (←that pretty much concludes all the feelings of meeting them)
We were a bit late, no more seats left, so we just sat at the entrance/exit next to the bathroom, which turned out to be a spectacular position later. Due to some unknown reasons (guess was the two other important medias, sina or sohu had been interviewing for too much time), the directors arrived 20 minutes later than it was scheduled. So journalists started chatting with each other, when suddenly, we heard someone back a few steps away from us talking in English…Just at the moment we turned our head without second reaction we saw Tom rushed into the toilet…Therefore when he came out, we were the first to meet him!!! I was too thrilled to talk anything and my legs were trembling, so my friend took the poster from me and gave it to Tom, but we were both not sure if he could/willing sign or not. And then, after several seconds of awkwardness, we heard Tom simply say: May I have a pen to sign……………..we were so idiot forget to hand him the pen…
Tom was the first to sit down, followed by Lana and Andy Wachowski, all seemed in super good mood 🙂 Especially Lana, she was just way too nice! With red hair and a cute dress hopped in. (after well seated, the Wachowskis tried to use Chinese to greet the audience, unfortunately their Nihao, which is Hello in Chinese, was rather unrecognizable.)
Somehow, I was too lucky that day! I was the first journalist chosen to ask questions. I wasn't quite well prepared for this kind of sudden shock and happiness (almost lost consciousness…kidding) My boss actually asked me to have 4 questions in preparation, 3 concerned with "Cloud Atlas"(editing/score/plot), 1 to the "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". Unfortunately, under that overwhelming circumstances, the first question I quickly glanced at my notebook was the one about Perfume……………….which later, after I got back some consciousness, I realized that one was the most distant with the theme of this press conference, although, Tom Tykwer obviously looked very much surprised and interested 🙂 Then, the worst thing was, I began to lost the ability to well organize my sentences, especially I had to ask them in English >__<….I don't believe anyone could stay calm when Tom Tykwer's beautiful eyes staring at you more than 3 seconds. The question was going to be: In the last few scenes, Jean-Baptiste starts to cry and remembers the girl he first met. Is it a result of the power of the perfume, or watching people on the plaza, the scene touched him? Tom silenced for a moment, then replied with the most charming smile, saying: Well, that's a question hard to tell. To me, Jean-Baptiste cried because when he saw everyone hugging and leaning close to each other, there's a huge feeling of being isolated covered him. It's like, he created something could let people see the face of God, but God closed his own door to Heaven. He was really very upset and despair. Then, after quietly hearing his answer, my logic did not exist at all…I just forgot to ask the left 3 important questions about Cloud Atlas and sat down……………………………..and until the press conference ended, I did not have any chance to ask those 3 questions T__T What's this called? Happiness comes too fast to forget everything???
Some other journalist asked several questions for the Wachowskis, one I remembered was asking "Would you two have any quarrels?", they replied: "No, not at all. Love brings us together and when we have trouble, we call Mom! 🙂 " Then the mic phone returned to Tom again. So I tried to contact the other journalist, to see if she could possibly ask Tom why he constantly work with Mr Ben Whishaw, and always to let him play those kinds of bitter parts…Tom laughed and replied: Ben is a very very nice guy, born optimistic, shared nothing at all with the characters he played. He loves trying to explore those diverse and multiple roles. Just like Lana and Andy trust Hugo Weaving, they are so good in everything, I would't give him up and love to work with him when appropriate chance comes. I'm also very pleased this time we could have Ben in Cloud Atlas as well.
Then the directors-meeting came to the end, time for journalists free to get signed and things like that. My friend said loudly that she's got the Cloud Atlas novel's Chinese version, and could she have the opportunity to get signed from all three directors. Later she did be allowed to go up and all the 3 directors signed on her book, also they had a quite close face-to face chat!!! Lana and Andy Wachowski looked at my poster, smiled and said: that's pretty cool! and also happily signed on it. The last few minutes before 3 directors left was rather a little chaos. I couldn't find Tom Tykwer for a minute, and just when I was complaining to my friend where's Tom…I turned my head and saw Tom was just standing closely behind me and smiling!!!!!!!!!!!! We then took a few photos together 🙂
Then we rushed to the cinema to see the movie. The 130 mins re-edited version. (40 minutes being cut off >__<)
2. About The Movie
1. Editing is really a deep topic that audience could talk about for the whole day. I think the main idea the directors want to present is that everyone living on earth has the ultimate same ending and fate, but the way to reach that ending point is so much different. Something about the unity and universality of human being. But it's a bit hard for the audiences to follow in the beginning, the editing is slightly sort of a mess, many scenes are cut between each other, left too short time for people to get some understanding of one character before cutting to the next. It comes much better later. Hints like doors closing/opening are done very well.
2. The plot is not complete. Felt very upset and angry about the 40 mins cutting off. People like me and my friend, we are big fans of the original novel, so that may be more easier for us to follow the plot, but for most audiences who haven't seen the novel yet, may get confused at some point due to the lack of some details. To be honest, I'm not that sensitive about Ben's gay part being cut, but I'm really disappointed that some necessary turning points got cut.
3. Music and Score are so superb that I actually may cry when hearing the main tune!!!!
4. Doona Bae is a surprise for me, and the Timothy Cavendish story is my favorite.
5. Every actor plays several parts. A bit distracting for fans. I mean they may focus on recognizing those actors instead of the movie itself.
I remember someone said the film's core theme is about connection. Kindness brings salvation, viciousness brings destruction… (I'll omit this whole paragraph)
I'm a little disappointed, because I feel more shocked and touched when reading the original novel, though I admit, the adaptation is quite good enough to some extent.
Here I'm going to say something about the part touched me most in the movie:
It actually comes the same as in the book. It's the story of Robert and Sixsmith. It's also the only one among the 6 stories that runs at a rather fast pace without special effect and some fighting scenes. All of the daughter's scenes are deleted in the adaptation, and the original antique store beginning is changed to a short dream that Sixsmith dreamt when reaching for Robert. And OMG, Ben Whishaw works so perfectly with James D'Arcy!! Although the conversation is cut off, the look they shared between the display shelves shows another wonderful world, a world where people who loves each other could happily be together. And then the embrace in the observation station and the old hotel…If in the book, they keep parting, then in the film they are always missing/passing by. (omit the following several paragraphs.)
The last time I felt so utterly shocked was when watching Tom's Perfume. Those actors sucessfully impressed audience simply by a look, without any text/lines. For about 5 seconds, everyone could understand that kind of despair, rage, struggle as well as Love.
And I can't imagine anyone else could do a better job than Tom and the Wachowskis. As Lana herself said: This is a rather challenging movie, hope you could bravely take it as we took the work, then you'll enjoy its meaning and beauty. 🙂
3. About The Premiere
After a long time we finish the movie, directors and Hugo hadn't arrived yet, it is said they were trapped on the way because too many fans would like to meet them. During that waiting time, we were being interviewed as well. I was going to seriously talk about editing and actor's performance, didn't expected that journalist rushed to me and directly asked: How's Zhou Xun in it? ………………….Utterly no comments =_= …………….
Then, finally, they arrived!
Just at that moment, I surprisingly found Hugo Weaving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (We completely had no idea he would come too, we thought it's just like the directors meeting hours ago that only directors would come)
Hugo is simply toooooooooo handsome to look at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Toooooooooooo handsome from head to toe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And later when he greeting everybody, he lowered his voice, said one of his lines in the movie, which just light up/fire up the whole atmosphere in half a second!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also the Wachowskis!!!!!!!!!!!!! So naughty!!!!!!!!!!!!! So cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There's the long translating time, which everyone felt just a little bored. I faced Lana and made a "YOU ROCK" gesture. Lana saw it and then turned at us, laughing soooooooooooo happily and waved her fist said "WE ROCK!"
This time the Media Conference was not well organized as the directors' meeting hours ago. Not sure if partly due to the translating work. Hugo's answers were always miles away from the questions…………..But he and the directors did seriously answered the question concerns the theme. They said it's all about cycles and connection, courage and love, etc.
After the conference they all walked out. I really kneel down to the fans of Zhou Xun…….they are toooooooo strong………but I have to admit, she was truly beautiful that day. 🙂
Because too many fans just flood into Zhou Xun, my friend and I, together with some other fans started to scream Hugo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then Hugo turned back with the most breath-taking sweet smile and came over to sign for us. He is soooooooooo tall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and with the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I said one of his lines from the Hobbit, but seems he didn't notice…Perhaps Hugo stayed for minutes long, a LARGE amount fans who were then around Zhou Xun ran over here all of a sudden………………………………Hugo was very patient with all the fans and kept the perfect smile all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many people said love him in various movies, from V for Vendentta to The LOTR, to Queen of the Desert, to of course, Agent Smith…..even one girl said she loved him in Proof and Last Ride. I didn't know Hugo would be such popular and has such a wide audience 🙂
That was absolutely the highlight of my life, it's been a magic feeling to get so close to someone you loved for a long time…(omit the rest of the last paragraph, similar sighing…)
Again, my eternal thanks to Yvette– and to the fans who shared their accounts. In some cases, the translations have been edited for off-topic content or slang/enthusiasm which has no precise translation. As anyone in the field of translation knows, each language is unique, and can often contain unique words and concepts which have no exact equivalent… but many things are universal as well. (Including the penchant for Hugo and Benedict Cumberbatch fans to pun around with their favorite actors' names.) 😉 I've always found it intriguing to look into all these words or concepts with no exact equivalent between languages because often I find myself realizing "Yes, there does need to be a word for that, and I've finally found it." Anyhow, I'm indebted to Hugo's international fans for their assistance… The American educational system will continue to lag behind most of the world if we don't teach kids to learn other languages and to have a less myopic cultural outlook– but that's a subject for another blog. 😉
The enthusiasm of Hugo Weaving fans is refreshingly universal across the world. I hope Cloud Atlas is appreciated in China, even in truncated form… the censorship controversy over the film's 40 minutes of edits continues to be covered in the online press… I wish more of the people who seem to be up in arms over this had gone to see the film when it was in release over here. That the Chinese fans (and many journalists there too) are angry at government interference in the arts is a good sign. American films were censored and clumsily edited for decades before the MPAA ratings system was implemented in the late 1960s– and that system still has some glaring flaws. These days fans know how to see films online if censorship or inadequate international distribution prevent them from seeing the films they want to see in theaters– but it shouldn't have to be that way. People should be able to see American films uncut in China, and Chinese (or Australian, French, Korean, German, etc) films in the US in a proper theatrical setting– the tyranny of the marketplace (which reserves most cinema screens for only commercial, Hollywood films) can be as much of an obstacle as censorship for Hugo's fans. Last Ride is as beautiful and visually cinematic as Cloud Atlas, but very few fans outside of Australia got to see that film in a cinema, and that's a shame. (The fact that far too many Americans CHOSE not to see Cloud Atlas in theaters is equally a shame… ) Anyhow, I don't mean to go on, but the fact that Hugo has so many fans willing to deal with all of these barriers is a beautiful thing. I do think Chinese audiences might have a greater appreciation for some aspects of the film than Westerners did… it's hard for many Americans and Europeans to see identity as a fluid concept, for example.
Cloud Atlas has also recently been awarded the Producer's Award by the Bavarian Film Guild. My friend Nyctalus sent along this brief item, with translation:
"Award for Cloud Atlas: The most expensive German film ever, Cloud Atlas, has been awarded with the Producer's Award by the jury of the Bavarian Film Award. The 100 million Euro production is 'a breath-taking travel in time'."
Online Hugo Weaving Articles:
There are detailed articles about the Cloud Atlas censorship controversy, including the response of Chinese fans, at E Online UK and The Daily Star. There's a preview for Cloud Atlas's Australian release at The Australian, and new reviews at China Daily, Engin Effect and RealDealHK.
Finally, the AACTA's confirmed via their Twitter feed that Hugo will not only attend this Wednesday's ceremony (January 30) but will be presenting, so he's bound to make whatever highlight reels and press photos are released online. If anyone in Australia manages to tape or watch the show, we'd love detailed info on his appearance. Or, y'know, video footage… 😉
Next update will probably include Hugo's AACTA Awards appearance… the ceremony begins at 9.30PM on Australia's Network 10. If you're following news internationally, that's 5.30 AM EST and 10.30 AM GMT.
Finally, this brief interview clip featuring Hugo Weaving promoting Cloud Atlas at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September 8, which could previously only be streamed via Toronto media sites, is now up on YouTube:
Originally appeared at Toronto Globe & Mail; image quality even on the original (obviously recorded with a cellphone) is shaky