Reviews for “The High Cost of Living”

31 10 2008

It has been 2 years since “The High Cost of Living” has been released. Some people like it, others not so. I think it is always good for a film maker to hear both positive and negative views of your work. Here are some of the reviews of the film from different parts of the world:






Production Pics for “The High Cost of Living”

26 10 2008

Transferred from my Multiply site. Some of the production pics taken during the filming of “The High Cost of Living”. That was back in the end of 2005, can’t believe it is almost 3 years already. You can also listen to the excellent theme of the film composed by Ethan Tan here: high-cost-of-living theme.

 (L~R): Jeremy Chua-Gaffer, Siew Yaw hoong-DOP, Sam-Production Sound, Raymond Ee-Grip, Janice Ho-1st AD & Jevin Lim-Boom Operator. We were filming at an alley in Little India.

(L~R): The 3 stooges – Aloysius (Brian Liau), Gid (Roy Ngerng) & Lily (Andrea Lim)

A tension filled dinner between Christine (Jean Low) & Aloysius. On the edge of the pic on the right is Shireen Choo-2nd Camera Operator


Chaudhary (Hamish Brown), the mysterious agents’ boss.

Christine in her bedroom. On the extreme right with earphones on is Nelson Pereira-Production Sound.

Funeral Parlour set for Liao Chun Tong’s (Vins Ng) funeral.

Aloysius’ car with the windscreen smashed! This was a difficult scene to film, and we had 3 small accidents that night while filming the scene. The 1st was that one of the Grip, Raymond Ee, cut his hand before filming got started. The 2nd was that Joseph Quek (as Wenfa) who smashed the windscreen was only supposed to damage it, but he was too into character and smashed the whole windscreen. His hand was slightly cut and we had to send him to the hospital. The 3rd was that I had intended also to damage the body of the car, and while we were filming it, one of the art assistant came running frantically to my 1st AD and told her we can only smash the windscreen!

Me: “No, no, no. You have to do the kissing scene again. And on the bed this time.” Andrea’s & Roy’s enthusiastic response……. 

Long (Timothy Nga) taking a break between killing the villains. I survey the carnage.

Guy Ho – the Gun Technical Advisor (Middle) giving some tips to Roy & Timothy on firing of a weapon at a live range.

Sulee (Yeo Yann Yann) covered in blood, but happy!

Sulee (Yeo Yann Yann), covered in blood and acting dead this time.

3 innocent victims of the violent act of film-making!

The Art Department had their hands full trying to reset this scene back for a 2nd take.

DOP-Siew Yaw Hoong considering his options for the scene.

Quiet on the set! And Action!

Me and the DOP-Siew Yaw Hoong, on our knees considering our next move.

黎育維 or Leonard Lai Yok Wai?

26 10 2008

Just a few days ago, I was reading a page on a film maker’s friend website. She writes in Chinese. As I was reading, I was thinking how the chinese words just flow effortlessly for her.

You see, I have lost the ability to write in chinese. I can read and speak, and I can type on a computer using “hanyu pinying” (where chinese words are written by spelling it out in alphabets that sounds like the character and you can choose from a suggested list of characters from the character help bar), but to ask me to write on a paper the characters, I have difficulty. Come to think of it, I can’t remember when I lost the ability to write in chinese.

When I was attending kindergarden, I started out learning and writing in chinese. Often, my homework was to write out the characters in mandarin at least a few times on those note books with square boxes. The first characters I learned were my chinese name, 黎育維. But things changed when I started Primary School. It must be frustrating for the teachers. Imagine a six year old boy who doesn’t know a thing about English, and on the 1st day of primary school, the teacher is talking to you in that language and teaching in English. I remembered my confusion.

However, slowly I learned my a, b, c and started conversing and using english more and more, and chinese became my “2nd Language”. I started writing it less and less, only during chinese lessons in class. I still speak chinese mandarin at home, so that is why I haven’t lost the language completely. Come to think of it, my family used to speak in Cantonese because my dad is Cantonese. Also, more importantly, I started to think and rationalize in english.

Now that I am all grown up and in my thirties, I still regret not having practiced writing the chinese characters more and being able to write chinese effortlessly. Why? Because I have come to realize that language is more than a tool for you to communicate. Being able to read and write a language gives you a sense of identity, of your ancestry and culture, of where you come from.

In Singapore, we have “hijacked” the english language and made it the common language, partly to maintain racial harmony so that none of the races and hence its language are deemed favoured over the other, and also because english is the common language of the world at the time to better conduct commerce. So did we also inadvertently “hijacked” the culture and identity associated with the english language? I think we did, to a certain extent, but a “compromise” is reached because ultimately, the language does not belong to us. I also think that this is also one of the reasons why the Singapore identity is so hard to pin down.

So now I have started to write more in chinese, and have also started to read a lot more in chinese. And I find that I am slowly regaining this language ability that I have lost. I can write better now, although I still need to check with my dictionary once in a while. And I am now able to think and rationalize in both chinese and english, depending on my mood. You can say I have a split language personality. I have also started to add the chinese characters “黎育維作品” together with “a Leonard Lai Yok Wai film” for my films. So am I – 黎育維 or Leonard Lai Yok Wai? I would say it is both, they are both me.

失去愛 (Love Lost) – Competing in 16th Chilean International Short Film Festival of Santiago

25 10 2008

My newest short film “失去愛 (Love Lost)” is again competing in a Latin American country, this time in Santiago in Chile for the 16th Chilean International Short Film Festival 2008 (FeSanCor) from 20~27Oct! You can visit the website of the festival here.

In total, 113 shorts from all over the world will be shown during the 7days of FeSanCor.

Rainy Days

23 10 2008

Have been raining for the past few days in Singapore recently. Makes me think of a room some years ago. I was leaning against the window looking at the rain, taking slow drags on my cigarette. I like rain. There was this song Drop by Hope Sandoval playing in the background. I heard my name called, I felt happiness.

Production Pics of 失去愛 (Love Lost)

23 10 2008

Had a quick look again through the production pics for 失去愛 (Love Lost) when I shot in Taiwan early in the year. Memories, memories………..

The Hair & Makeup Artist-李霓, showing one of her moves to Me, the 1st AD-Circle Huang (黃原) & Faith Yang (back facing camera) during an over-nite shoot

Faith & 李霓 sharing a moment 🙂

Me, DOP-Siew Yaw Hoong & Camera Assistant-林健德, on the rooptop of a building preparing for a shot. We later found out that 啊德 (as we like to call him) and the 1stAD-Circle 黃原 are good buddies with the Taiwanese Singer 吳克群 (Kenji Wu)! 吳克群 stayed at 啊德’s house before he make it big, they even shared a bowl of cup noodles when 吳克群 was too poor to eat!

Me & 李慈 checking out a shot. She plays the mother at the playground in the film. The Little Boy who appears in the scene is her son, 李思恩. I mainly used non-professional actors for the film.

陳正 and me checking a shot. He plays a Policeman in the film, but unfortunately his scene was cut in the final edit of the film. I heard from Circle that he went to film a Idol TV Series (偶像劇) in China after my film!

啊德 & Me waiting for the rain to stop for a scene. Notice I am in my pajamas……

I needed a 小吃店 (food eatery) for one of the scene and Circle found this. Circle is a regular customer of at the eatery & the Lady Boss 林曼華 was such a generous person. Her noodles are very good as well. Highly recommended!

We were recording the atmosphere sound in a cafe after a scene, somehow we just went a little bit crazy. We were actually suppose to keep real quiet…….

失去愛 (Love Lost) – World Premieres at 32nd Sao Paulo International Film Festival in Brazil

23 10 2008

My latest short film 失去愛 (Love Lost) is having its World Premiere at the 32nd Sao Paulo International Film Festival in Brazil from 17~28 Oct 2008!

The film is IN COMPETITION for the Short & Medium Length Film category. You can check out the festival website here.

This is the 2nd time my films are shown in Latin America. The 1st time was in Mexico back in 2007 for “The High Cost of Living”.