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Interview Lawrence Lau on Besieged City and City Without Baseball
Besieged City:Lawrence Lau (director) 1/1 - Page 1
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 28/4/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Lawrence Ah Mon
Movies :
Besieged City
Spacked Out
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Page 2 : Lawrence Lau (co-director)

At the 2008 HKIFF, Arnaud Lanuque met with Besieged City director Lawrence Ah Mon (AKA Lawrence Lau) and they discussed the joy to work with non-professional actors in Besieged City and with the Baseball team of HK in City without Baseball. Below is the transcript of the interview.

The movie team with producer Dennis Chan and director Lawrence Lau

interview with lawrence lau about Besieged city

HKCinemagic : D id you approach this film differently from your previous works with youngsters?
Lawrence Ah Moon : For this film, I was trying to get away from a docu-drama style, I was trying to do it more as a film noir. Besieged City is different from Spacked Out and Gangs because I tried to develop the family relationships more, also the characters of the brothers and sisters. That's what I was trying to do. There is still a lot of plot in it but we tried to make the plot coming out from what the characters did rather than from external circumstances. The way we thought about the film was to make it a little more internal, whereas my other films were more external. That was our approach.
HKCinemagic : Do you have a way to keep in touch with the evolution of mentality amongst youngsters? They evolve very fast.
Lawrence Ah Moon : Research is very important. I always have my scriptwriters do months of research before we start the script. They almost worked on it a year, finding materials and doing research. We can do it because we are a small production.
HKCinemagic : When you’re doing such films, do you think it’s a must to use newcomers?
Lawrence Ah Moon : Oh definitely! Basically, when you're dealing with actors of that young age -- 14-15 years old -- there are not many established actors of that age. And of course, you want people who are familiar with the same social environment, who really come from that social class so that, even though they are not real actors, their mind is in tune with the character. It really helps to bring up the realism of the film. It's very hard for real actors to put themselves in situation in which they are not totally familiar with. It's not that they are not able to do it, a lot of them are good enough actors to be able to develop it but it takes more effort both on the actor and on the director. I found the non actors more natural, more spontaneous. That's why I enjoy working with them.
HKCinemagic : Do you have a specific way to direct them to get such good performances?
Lawrence Ah Moon : The casting process takes a long time, on Besieged City it took a couple of months, we saw a lot of people. It's a matter of finding the right person for the right character. And we were also developing the script at the same time so we let the scriptwriter be aware of the kind of people we had in mind for those roles. Some of the things were picked up from the actors themselves. The way I approach it then is that I don't let them see the script. They just know the basic outline and what the character does and how he develops throughout the film.
HKCinemagic : Do you feed them information on their background?
Lawrence Ah Moon : A little. We let them know what sort of character they play, who they are, how they are related but other than that, we don't let them read the script. On the set, we will go through the dramatic situation with them. And if there are certain dialogues we really want to keep, we show them those few lines. But even then, we are not fixed about them saying the exact words. So they will convey the meaning their own way and make it more natural.
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