A Lucky7 Roundtable with Sun Koh, K. Rajagopal, Boo Junfeng, Brian Gothong Tan, Chew Tze Chuan, Ho Tzu Nyen, and Tania Sng

Lucky 7 is like a exquisite corpse. See picture below (not above!). The picture explains everything.
Like a parlour game of sorts, 7 Singaporean directors write their own little segments knowing only the ending of the previous segment. And then they set off to shoot! This is the original Ang Moh Lucky7 in the picture below. Watching the final product, somehow, you have to view it as an intellectual exercise or a game and not fit it into the traditional parameters of a feature film. And by some stroke of luck, if there was one thing that bound all 7, it must have been sex. Personally, I was involved in the production and I must say the brilliance of this was more in the process than the product.

Panorama Cross Talk #1

Jeremy (J) : Being involved in it, I would like to start the by asking you what you expected to see from L7 before stepping into the cinema?
Stefan (S) : I had asked someone who had seen the movie, what he thought of it, and he mentioned to get ready for a preoccupation with sex.... though with an R21 rating, I suppose one would expect something
J : I worked on Raja's segment first and it was certainly one of the most highly-sexed segments!
S : Raja's segment looked like it could have been a Dune movie.
J : Haha!
S : And I thought it was gonna be sci-fi, it could have though.
J : I feel when sex is repeated so many times (I remember panties pulled down at least 5 times!), it becomes more an artistic motif than erotic.
S : Haha, you kept count!
J : No la, I exaggerate. By the way, did you expect any kind of continuity when watching it or did you just view it as 7 short films?
S : Frankly speaking, I thought there would be some form of strong continuity, kinda like what the HK Directors did for Triangle, but I suppose for that, they had the genre nailed down. With Lucky 7, I should've taken the cue that Genre is not one of the criteria, and having 7 different individuals at the helm of their segments, anything goes and it really traversed all over the place haha!
J : Personally, it was more palatable seeing it as 7 separate shorts.

Segment 1 by Sun Koh
S : I thought she set the scene really nicely, with enough for, well, anyone to have taken the ball, and run with it.
J : For me, the randomness and mish-mash nature of whole feature was kinda of embodied in her short. I mean, I felt displaced watching it....the Filipino song, the random items in the bag.

S : Well, as I mentioned, the items were providing an avenue for the next director to select something, and move it along.
J : Taking your statement into account, it was a love hate relationship with that short but an excellent set up!

Segment 2 by Rajagopal

S : Oh dear, my least favourite
J : That is interesting cos it is my favourite.
S : Haha, my least favourite because it threw out most of what was already established earlier
J : But that's part of the game isn't it?
S : To me, this segment became my marker that everything else after is fair game. (pause) Cucumber sex was interesting though haha, though I do not really understand the significance of it, if there's any hidden subtext.
J : Well, there is an insider story I am not supposed to tell. But here is my view of it as a film.
S : Wait, what if you do reveal that insider story ?
J : Raja would kill me with a cucumber. (pause) Anyway. segment 2 is obviouly not a traditional narrative but more a recollective montage. I felt it was meant to provoke and titillate. which kind of fits nicely into the whole L7 structure. (Beat) I mean it has some hints of a back story but does not focus on that.
S : Yeah it was hinting at something from the past, but to me I thought it wasn't really clear.
J : I really like the cucumber idea!
S : Ah yes, that bit took me by surprise, didn't expect any vegetables to be harmed lol
J : Poor veges, they take turns to get to work, so many of them!

Segment 3 by Boo Junfeng

S : Wah, his part I want to cry, so sad. Probably because I can identify with some portions of it, to personal life (wah)
J : Mmm.
S : Yeah, but identifying with it without the transexual bit haha
J : Haha. (pause) I really liked Chermain's performance, I thought it was THE performance of the whole lucky 7. S : I thought Sunny's performance was THE performance lol
J : I think it's familiarity breeding contempt
S : Haha.
J : But I must add that Junfeng's segment seemed a little out of place in Lucky 7. It feels like part of his collection of socially-conscious shorts. Coming to a film like that, my mind was tuned to be challenged and shaken upside down
S : Hmm.. in fact I thought most of the shorts kinda provided a "reboot" from the earlier segments, with Sunny's character frequently "waking up"
J : That's true! He woke up alot!
S : Which makes it easy of course, to identify that someone else has taken over the helm
J : The other that happened alot was the pulling down of panties of course.

Segment 4 by Brian Gothong Tan

J : (waiting...) Hello? Are you there? Toilet break ah?
S : No, jogging my memory which part this one was LOL
(moments later)
S : Oh yeah i get it now. The panties part.
J : And of course, there was also computer animation.
S : For this one, I thought it totally threw Sunny's character off, from what has been established already, even with Raja's segment. He becomes a perverted stalker/sexual predator, or so I was led to feel.
J : Agree, but like I said, I gave up looking for connections already.
S : And that animation dance sequence, totally out of this world.
J : I loved it!
S : Thought it was quite cute, but was he using the SIMS?
J : I think so.
S : But yeah, could've gone really risque, but he pulled the rug from under everyone's feet and gave us an animated short.
J : The part when the girl `multiplied' , haha, it was orgasmic! (beat) Seriously, to me , it started the second change of tone in L7 because we suddenly get a little humour, albeit it being dark
S : Yup, the audience were cracking up when the characters turned animated.
J : Which I felt was important, and he had a point as well by making the girl so peverse and eager to pull down her pa^*&* (refraining from repeating the `p' word)
S : Who was the actress? Thought she looked rather familiar.
J : Is she an actress? I thought she was kidnapped from a primary school

Segment 5 by Chew Tze Chuan

J : Mmm.... sad to say my least liked.
S : It was kinda confusing, the segment by Chew Tze Chuan. Probably because it encompassed a lot of things....the slights on censorship......the shears............the wannabe film director
J : Yeah but the script was not written by him
S : Oh really?
J : It is by a really famous person (haha)
S : Haha, anyone's guess then!
J : Cannot say, wait I get blacklisted
S : This one had 2 of the 7 directors right?
J : Huh? It was only Chew ma
S : Hmm I thought the Indian guy looked like Rajagopal lol
J : Yes, he is Raja but he was just acting in it (he did something brave though - taking off his cap)
S : Yup, so 2 directors in front of the camera
J : Redemptively speaking, there were a few good visuals like the burning of film and the rubbing of the sauce-laden hotdog on Ah Ma's face. Hilarious!
S : One more.
J : What?
S : Exercising in the living room.

Segment 6 by Ho Tzu Nyen

S : This one play cheat la
S : Why do a recap
J : It was love it or hate it.
S : Though it did allow Sunny Pang to show off his acting chops.
J : Well, I felt there was a certain dramatic point about Sunny talking through his previous acts which was clever and visually interesting. As you know Tzu Nyen is a visual artist.
S : And then there's this bit with the mirrors. So a director gets in front of the camera again!
J : I think the mirrors reference the fact that segment 6 is about er......self-referencing?
S : Ah-so
J : So deska! (pause) Just checking, am I talking sense?

Segment 7 by Tania Sng

S : The unfortunate(?) task of wrapping everything up. Again if you noticed, Sunny woke up from slumber (or am I wrong?)
J : Thats true! (pause) Everything was a dream..... or nightmare.
S : So well, everything else got junked lol (pause) But that ice cream, oh my, it was lunchtime, and I was getting hungry!
J : For me, this segment by Tania was subliminally effective.
S : How so?
J : I think it was the setting, the observations, the sounds of the waves, the semi-surreal environment. Though there were a few dramatically jarring moments.
S : Like the horny couple
J : I like them ok! They really sizzled.
S : They were really in the mood for some serious lurvin.
J : But there was one-joke that made me a little awkward - when the Tudung girl said she is cool when Sunny asked if she felt hot wearing the tudung.

S : Hmmm...... i thought that bit was ok ma?
J : I think you were transfixed on the ice-cream!
S : Yeah. And it was melting!
J : How did you feel about the sgement?
S : It felt like a standalone short, meaning you can take it out of the lucky7 series and still it would've made sense. (Beat) Cos Sunny woke up
J : That's a nice way to see it!
S : But actually that's not the end of the movie right? Right after the end credits, there was another segment!
J : Hmmm.....
S : So it's actually Lucky 7.5. Ahhhhh... now you have reason to watch it again!
J : Okay I am going to run after Sun! Or Tania!

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