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  • August 12, 2023
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Begonia | Interview of Zuyou Liu, Xinshu Cui

INTERVIEWS
Cult Critic Begonia | Interview of Zuyou Liu, Xinshu Cui

Cult Critic:  "Begonia" is described as filled with romantic synesthesia, using natural elements such as water, flora, organisms, and human touch. How do these elements contribute to the overall tone and atmosphere of the story, particularly in relation to the protagonist's affection and love for the character "Yi An"?

Xinshu Cui: We consider that the natural elements serve as powerful symbols that mirror the protagonist's feelings and experiences. For instance, water may represent the flow of emotions, adaptability, and the passage of time. Flora like the begonia flower can symbolize love, passion, and the delicate nature of relationships. Organisms may represent growth and transformation. These symbols provide a deeper layer of meaning to the story and enhance the audience's understanding of the protagonist's affection and love for Yi An. Moreover, the presence of these natural elements helps in setting the atmosphere and mood of the story. For example, film scenes set in a serene garden with begonia flowers blooming can evoke a sense of calmness and tenderness, accentuating the tender emotions of the protagonist. On the other hand, scenes involving water can represent the ebb and flow of emotions or even moments of cleansing and clarity. The use of synesthesia and natural elements allows for a more poetic and metaphorical expression of the protagonist's feelings. It goes beyond the literal description of love, enabling the audience to perceive the emotions through a more imaginative lens, fostering a deeper emotional connection to the film characters. And through interactions with these natural elements, the protagonist's emotional journey can be portrayed in a nuanced way. The interactions between nature and Begonia can aid in revealing the character's growth and transformation throughout the story.

Cult Critic:  It mentions an erotic side to the script, contrasted by the world of the married couple's absence of love. How does the script handle this contrast, and what impact does it have on the overall narrative and character dynamics?

Zuyou Liu: Our script juxtaposes the passionate and intense emotions experienced by the protagonist in his love for Yi An with the cold and loveless relationship in the married couple's world. This stark contrast accentuates the depth of the protagonist's feelings, making his love for Yi An appear even more powerful and significant in comparison to the lack of love experienced by the married couple. And the erotic side of the script can represent the protagonist's desires and longings, showcasing his emotional intensity and inner struggles. The contrast in romantic experiences can influence the motivations and decisions of the protagonist and this married couple. The protagonist's realization of true love being about letting Yi An be free and happy might be triggered by observing the unhappy marriage. And the impact of witnessing the contrast may lead the protagonist to reevaluate his own desires and actions. Besides, the contrast can prompt significant character growth and development. The protagonist may evolve from a person driven solely by desire for someone capable of selflessness and letting go. Overall, the contrast provides narrative tension that propels the story forward, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the outcome. It adds complexity to the relationships and creates opportunities for unexpected twists and revelations.

Cult Critic:  The character Lancer is depicted amidst unnatural or materialistic elements, such as boxes, cigars, and cell phones, while the other characters remain connected to nature and emotions. How does this contrast in environments and symbolism enhance the themes and character development in the script?

Xinshu Cui: By depicting Lancer amidst unnatural and materialistic elements like boxes, cigars, and cell phones, our script suggests a sense of isolation and disconnection from the natural world and emotions. This isolation is also a symbolic of Lancer's emotional detachment and his preoccupation with material possessions or superficial pursuits. In other words, the contrast highlights the themes of materialism versus authenticity and emotional depth. While the other characters remain connected to nature and emotions, Lancer's surroundings represent a world consumed by material possessions and superficialities. This theme served as a reflection on the consequences of prioritizing material gain over genuine connections and emotions. 4. The use of angular views and perspectives in the script, achieved through sharp cinematography and strict direction. Could you explain how these film techniques contribute to the storytelling and overall aesthetic of the film? Zuyou Liu: The inspiration for our script comes from an ancient Chinese poem, which paints a landscape rich with beautiful imagery such as unfinished wine, a night of wild wind and rain, the green of plants, and the red of flowers. As a result, our script employs numerous tangible objects and scenes to express emotions. In terms of cinematography, we aim to place characters within expansive settings, allowing the environment to speak and convey instead of them. In the script, you'll notice our characters scarcely speak or engage in dialogues. We intend to leave their words within those frames, encouraging the audience to imagine and observe. Regarding lighting, we've made unique choices, like opting for the golden hour to depict pivotal scenes. The golden hour is fleeting yet exquisitely beautiful, much like the relationship between Yi An and boy ? uncertain and enchanting. In contrast, scenes featuring Yi An and Lancer are bathed in light during specific daytime or nighttime moments, symbolizing enduring and unwavering love between them. 5. It emphasizes the importance of setting and suggests a cooler color palette to maintain the wetness, freshness, and poise of the natural environment. How does the treatment of the setting and costumes enhance the symbolism and representation of the three different worlds inhabited by the characters? Xinshu Cui: Firstly, the cooler color palette can be used to clearly differentiate the three worlds in the story. For instance, the lush, green, and refreshing natural environment where Yi An resides are characterized by cool tones like greens. This contrasts with the warmer, more artificial colors associated with Lancer's materialistic world, mainly dominated by beige, browns, or golds. The married couple's world, devoid of love, might have muted or colder tones, reflecting their emotional detachment. Additionally, cool colors like blues and greens can symbolize tranquility, renewal, and emotional depth. By employing these colors in the natural environment, our script can reinforce the importance of emotional connections and the notion that true love is found in genuine, heartfelt interactions. On the other hand, the costumes can play a significant role in character development. For instance, Yi An's wardrobe can reflect her connection to nature, with flowing dresses or earthy tones that complement the natural setting. Lancer's wardrobe could emphasize luxury and opulence, with tailored suits that highlight his materialistic nature. As characters evolve, their environments and costumes might also transform, visually representing their emotional growth or descent.

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