Interview with director Gwai Lou by Bruno Miguel Resende
Why this name?
I’m from Spain, but I live in Malaysia since 2016. Gwai Lou (鬼佬) it’s a common Cantonese slang for Westerners. Literally means foreign devil but actually, it’s more like white guy. When I first arrived in Malaysia everybody called me like this. It felt kind of funny and somewhat accurate at the same time (15.000 kilometers of distance hit you with a pretty strong cultural shock…) so in time I decided to adopt Gwai Lou as a nickname.
We have seen your film "Cold Winter Tale". You describe human evil as an eternal circle. Is that your vision over humanity?
We live in a cultural and social moment in which many political and social movements claim their purpose of erasing the evil in our world (what they consider evil at least…) and this kind of pushed me to work on this little story. I have lived enough and read enough to know that the revolutionaries of today are the dictators of tomorrow. The savior many times
becomes the enslaver as in the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
Why have you chosen Bukowski to get in the words of the film?
Charles Bukowski is one of my all-time referents. I love his soulful grittiness. I imagined the protagonist of the film as somebody like Bukowski. Actually the voiceover/poem kind of pays homage to his writing style.
Is the end of the circle of death winter?
We understand winter as the end of a circle in which the spring make things better, but we mostly live in a long long winter sprinkled with some spring days.
What moved you to this film?
I was living in the UK when the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann hit the tabloids in 2007. We were bombarded all day long with the rawest and unnecessary insides of the investigation and private life of the family and –not sure why– the story stayed with me. I wanted to re-imagine the story of that poor child in a happier way… but my faith in humanity is quite limited.
What do you have in mind to film in the future?
I’m working at the moment in a feature film set in The Philippines, a neo-noir film that dives deep in the Duterte’s war on drugs, sexual tourism, and police corruption. It’s called Somewhere Over the Rainbow.