Thursday, June 21, 2007
The Gao Brothers generously allowed us to use their studio space to film a few scenes. Their art is controversial - note the oversize plastic sculptures of Mao with breasts - and they've had various run-ins with the government resulting in restrictions placed on them for travel abroad and regarding their studio.
The deal they have worked out is that technically their studio is closed to the public but they are allowed to maintain the space and continue working. So going into this situation we knew there would be complications. We were supposed to try to get the scenes done quickly so as not to raise the attention of the authorities because, as the gallery people explained, anything the Gao Brothers do raises suspicions. Now, if you have ever had the pleasure of being on a movie set you know things take a really. Long. Time. So 4 hours into shooting (2 hours more than the gallery would have liked) and one take into a complicated scene the door to the studio burst open, three Chinese bureaucrats dressed in white shirtsleeves muscled in and proceeded to have a shouting match with the artists that went on for 25 minutes too long for comfort. Then one Gao Brother emerged and urged us to film this argument which one of our Chinese actresses, holding a camera, proceeded to do. We immediately started ejecting tapes from the cameras and depositing them in various actors pockets. This is it, guys, take the tapes and run! The commies are after us! we almost cried. But the thing is, the scene was not done and while the shouting match continued we continued to film the scene. Just keep going, we'll shoot till they kick us out. So we continued with the scene below which involves a conversation with three Chinese girls, involving wine and an adult magazine. Clearly a film production of which the Chinese censors would approve. Eventually the authorities left, and we finished the scene. According to the artists, this kind of fight is a daily occurrence there.
Here the actresses pretty themselves up. Thier wardrobe was provided courtesy of Miami-based designer Krelwear and, frankly, they look smokin' hot.
And here is the cast enjoying a much-deserved "lunch" at 4 pm. It's not a complete day of filming in China unless you think you'll get arrested at least once.