Today we bring you an interesting interview with Director Zhang Chong and producer Liu Bo from the excellent fantastic film Super Me that we saw at the last Sitges Festival. A clear example of the fantastic health of the Chinese film industry thanks to the multitude of young directors who dare to innovate. Without further ado we begin.
Mike y sus chinos: Congratulations on your film, and especially welcome to the festival. How was your first impression both on the public and on the organization?
Zhang Chong: It’s the first time that I come to this historical festival and I’m really delighted, in addition, that Super can participate in the Sitges Festival programme is an honour, since in China there are not many films of this type of fantasy genre and here I can find many colleagues with similar productions.
The atmosphere of the festival is very relaxed and I think this is fantastic. It’s a place with good "taste".
MysC: How did the Super Me project come about?
ZC: My original idea came from the studies of the psychologist Sigmund Freud and everything related to the id, the ego and the super ego. I wanted to capture that search and internal persecution that our protagonist suffers and try to capture the complex functioning of the human psyche.
Liu bo: As a producer, I pay particular attention to the category and the quality of the product and that is surprising, since in China these kind of films are rare and I think that Super Me has what it takes to respond to the international market with originality and creativity.
MysC: Although you previously told us that it is an original idea based on Freud's theory, is there something based on some legend or Chinese Folklore?
ZC: Yes, although the film is based in part on Freud's theory, there is a very important part that is the dreams and the analysis of them. In China, it’s something very important for the population and there are many books that talk about it. Many Chinese citizens after waking up wonder or would like to know what has happened in their dreams. I believe that this curiosity is something universal, something daily that can interest any citizen of the world and that is why I wanted to reflect it in my film.
MysC: Super Me is a production that has been taken care to the last detail, for its direction, action or its visual beauty. What was the most difficult thing and what did you like the most about making the film?
ZC: One of the most difficult things has been to translate the concept of the Chinese dream, the aspirations they have in life and their ambitions. Creating all of this has been really difficult because it requires research and a lot of effort.
The part in which the whole team have enjoyed the most has been creating the love story and everything that surrounds it, altering the hormones of almost the entire crew in the process (laughs).
As you have mentioned before, Super Me is a film taken care of to the maximum since it was 346 days in production and we shot it in just 80 days, this is the origin of why it looks so good as a whole.
LB: In my case, the most painful and complicated thing is that the imagination has no limits, but the budget does, and that is sometimes a problem. On the other hand, what I have enjoyed the most has been creating and producing the world around Super Me.
MysC: Why did you choose Wang Talu as the lead?
LB: Wang Talu has been a good friend of mine for some time, and although he is young he has a great personality apart from having a lot of fame in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.
MysC: How was the experience during filming?
ZC: The experience with the actors was really pleasant and professional. Wang Talu and the rest of the cast are well-known actors in Asia and are highly professional, which was very easy for me to work with. When they received the scripts, they found it very fun and interesting to be able to work on this fantastic proposal. I am very happy in general.
MysC: Being the Chinese film industry one of the most powerful and varied in genres today, how do you see the future of Chinese fantasy cinema?
ZC: The Chinese fantasy genre has a great future, currently there are a large number of young directors with innovative and very daring ideas, they dare to dream, to carry out their ideas and they do not hesitate to experiment with new hardware and shooting techniques unlike the fifth or sixth generation who prefer deeper or more traditional themes. A great future awaits the Chinese fantastic.
LB: In the Chinese market there are several categories of fantastic films, both budget and quality, but behind each image and set of colours there is a code of life that demonstrates the essence of Chinese fantasy.
MysC: Can you explain any anecdote that happened during filming?
ZC: Each day of filming was a new adventure, but to be specific I will explain something to you (laughs). Each of the 300 workers had a notebook with a multitude of drawings and symbolisms that appear in the film, for example, each weapon that we see Wang Talu carry was drawn on that notebook along with everything it means in the scene. During the film we are not going to explain all those hidden references but every theory about Freud or Jung that you sense in Super Me is studied to the maximum in a solid way. In addition, each actor has his symbol (meaning) in the film and has to perfectly execute and understand everything written on that notebook.
MysC: Finally, we would like to know what future projects you have.
LB/ZC: A fantasy genre series with the working title Sweet dreams. But who knows, maybe we will change the roles in our future projects, when there is money, everything is possible (laughs).
MysC: Thank you very much for your time, we wish you the best with Super Me.
ZC/LB: Thanks to you, the truth is that we hope that the public will enjoy the film, we believe that it deals with a universal theme that everyone can understand beyond Chinese culture.