© 2019 by The New Current. 

FILM
ÉCU Film Festival | 2019
Chih-Yuan Lu

BEHIND THE DREAM

Student Film

Taiwan

We follow the main protagonist Lin Hsian’s dream before his death. He incarnates himself as a young actor Lin-Wu who plays a detective called Wu who’s investigating the reason behind the death of a 13-year-old teenage star. 

Hi Lu thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?

I’ve been busy editing film clips and writing the script of the feature film, and everything is fine so far. 

How does it feel to have Behind The Dream part of this years’ ÉCU Film Festival?

I’m really thrilled that “Behind the Dream” was being chosen, and this is the very first time that the film is going to be screened in France.

Are there any nerves ahead of the screening?

I got to confess that I actually never thought the film would ever get a chance to be chosen, and yet I’m still glad that the audience in Paris gets to see it. 

Can you tell me a little bit about Behind The Dream, how did this film come about?

“Behind The Dream” was originally a graduation project when I was in graduate school. We also happened to get the domestic film fund from the government, so I decided to film it when everything was all set at the time.

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

The entire film is about a boy who has been raped by his own father at a very young age. While he was dying on the operating table, he was forced to confront the trauma in a dream he made before death. Some plots on the screen were based on my true experience. When I was a child, I was sexually assaulted by my neighbour. He told me that he did the exact same thing to his son, which was a commercial actor at the time. Hence, I began to wonder, “IF this is REAL, what it would be?”

But I still got to say that even the film is based on the trauma from my childhood. The past is MY own story, and I hope that the audience focuses more on the film itself instead of my past. 

What was the most challenging part of bringing Behind The Dream to life?

The shooting was never the most challenging one. Sure, it’s been really tough, and so is fund-raising, but I think the process of creating the script as well as facing your own trauma is the hardest part.

"Don’t be over-ambitious..."

When we were applying for the domestic film fund, I revealed my childhood trauma with everyone. I wonder if the screening committee might even think, “Is he fabricating some stories just for attention and pity?” Because I actually have heard some comments like this. Fortunately, I got a crew that really had faith in me and trusted me as being a director for the first time, so we eventually got to finish this film.

What was the most valuable lesson you've taken from making this film?

As for me, the most valuable lesson is that I extract a small part from my own experience; deconstruct and recreate a something new through the ideas of people, and yet it transforms into total different look while being screened to the audience.

For instance, the photos of nude teenage boys that the murderer took in the film. My photographer insisted that it has to be taken with teenage-like models while using the film camera. I agreed and suggested that it can be more dramatic. So I asked one of my friends who is into Bondage (BDSM) to do me a favour and made the scene more vivid. Thus, here comes what you are seeing in the film at the moment. The production we made is rarely connected to my OWN trauma, but became everyone’s nightmare through several times of deconstruction. I was really appreciated to get through this with my college mates and other crew members.   

Have you always been interested in filmmaking?

No. Actually I wanted to be a comic artist when I was a kid, but I have no talent in drawing and still got a lot of stories to tell. So I happened to learn film making by accident.  

What was the first film you were part of?

If it comes to the first short film, it should be my graduate project in college called “Missing a Cat.” I was the screenplay writer as well as the director, and I was able to enroll in the master program of filming at Shih-Shin University because of this film.

What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?

About the film, the best advice that I’ve received is that the boundaries between reality and dream could be separated more clearly for the audience. Which means set clear scenarios among dream, the acting, and the dream in acting.

Don’t be over-ambitious, don’t try to put too many details in the single short film. Because the audience will need sufficient time to process them.  

Now you can be reflective, do you have any advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

I’ve seen other films that were chosen for the festival, and I found the aim of their stories are very clear to be understood. It should be simple and readily understood for the short film and mine is way over complicated.  

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

If you try to interpret “Behind The Dream” in another perspective, you will read a totally different story. “Behind The Dream” is mainly about a dream the protagonist had before his death, and the dream is the fulfillment of his death wish. He has accomplished something that he couldn’t achieve in reality — which is confronting his own father. Therefore, the scene of confrontation in the film is set in the fantasy instead of reality. Was the protagonist able to move on in the end? We’ll leave these intriguing for the audience to contemplate. 

I really do hope the audience use their own unique thinking to interpret the story because it was made to be interpreted in many ways.  During the Q/A session in Taiwan, I enjoyed handing my microphone to the audience and ask them what they saw, and each of them made different assumptions.  One of the most interesting explanations I’ve heard is that the actor is possessed by the spirit of the protagonist, Lin-Hsiang.

It also represents the idea that if you interpret the same thing with another perspective, you’ll get an entirely different aspect.