Roland Soong interview on CLC

Comme les Chinois

Shameless self-promotion of one's piece of web estate. Yesterday, I put the final touches to the interview I did with Roland Soong, the blogger behind the extremely influential blog EastSouthWestNorth (to the point of steering the focus of news about China in some very important media outlets, I found - and regularly quoted in the blogosphere). We talked about the obvious: media, politics, etc, etc, but we also ventured in the more pleasant, like Roland special relation with the Lust, Caution movie (based on a Eileen Chang short story - his parents were personal friends, and their family keeps number of items belonging to Chang), and about running, a hobby that the blogger was practising when he lived in New York City.

CLC: Run races? You mean, just like (upon) hearing rumours of races...

No, no, no, it's like I had a team, and it's like a couple of hundred people. I write gossip about them.

CLC: About the track community?

No, it's just my club - I don't care about anyone else. It was just a little bit weird, it just had a very strong personality because it was a little bit what you call quirky. You know, it's like, a lot of stuff tends to be really really funny. For some reason, the stories that I want to focus are the really weird ones? So, I have one teammate, who was in the business of collecting lost gloves. You know, it's winter, and once in a while we lose gloves, don't know where it went.

CLC: Heh.

And it's lost somewhere, and she just collects them. Then, periodically, she would make an announcement, and say, I am bringing all my gloves down to the playground to the corner of 72nd Street and Broadway. I welcome anyone - you can come down and if it's one of your gloves, take it, even if it isn't, take it anyways. So, she got featured in the New York Times, who wrote this follow-up... Like, why are you doing that? (laughs)

And, this stuff about people running races? You have tons of people running races. These people are runners, and runner do run races. It's one thing for you to... They are mostly New York City residents, so you can run local races - on Thanksgiving, you go race somewhere.

Now, an excerpt of Roland's answers on his appreciation of Lust, Caution:

CLC: Did you like it? Did you see the rendition of it?

I actually saw it here (at Palace IFC - since we were at IFC's Pacific Coffee). Because they had the premiere, so I guess that they felt they had to give me a ticket. (laughs) Actually, when the publisher first told me that Ang Lee was going to make a movie, and I hadn't read the so-called short story carefully before, so, I went back and looked at it... So how are you going to make a movie out of this? (laughs)

So, Ang Lee has actually significantly expanded it, but in a way that, I take, he necessarily had to. Because otherwise, it was way too subtle in an audio-visual media. You can't really communicate... Because you can't really have the kinds of monologues that, you know, a first-person observation, that you could have in the novel. So, you can't express these, can't expect the actors or the actresses to communicate through facial expressions or hand gestures.

Um, so usually people would say, oh, there are those three bedroom scenes that were not in the book. That's somehow, I felt, they just had to be there, because it's not the identical bedroom scenes, because it clearly shows the shift in the so-called power relation, power, politics if you will, as it starts off with the man being dominant, and then by the end, it's really the woman taking charge? But without that, you couldn't really tell what exactly had really changed.

And, you know, it has been asked enough that, how do I feel about that - how do I think Eileen Chang would've thought - I felt sorry? (Editor's note: lost with the recording...) Or let's say even my father would have thought about it. I think the answer is, um, they wouldn't have minded, because both of them were actually script writer. My father was a film producer.

Read the entire interview on Comme les Chinois.



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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on July 23, 2008 2:29 AM.

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