The whole crew of Triangle was reunited today in the press conference room to field questions from journalists. The three directors, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To, were on hand, along with actors Sun Hong Lei, Louis Koo, and Simon Yam. Excerpts follow.
On the concept of the "cadavre exquis," where each director creates a segment:
Tsui Hark: "The three of us have been friends for ages. Triangle is a little like a potluck dinner, where three cooks each contribute a dish. I remember marathon six-hour reunions with Johnnie and Simon. The whole time, we realized that, although our opinions might differ, we still enjoyed getting together as much as we ever had. Each of us had seen every single film the others had made, and we were always favorably impressed. This time, meeting to make the film together was difficult. But we laughed a lot during those meetings, and we were really happy to be doing it."
Ringo Lam: "Three directors working together on a single film, the same story… At the beginning, I was curious about how we were going to develop the story, which is driven chiefly by the characters. I had absolutely no information about their personalities. It wasn't at all clear. But after I finished directing my segment (the middle one), I became quite curious about how the characters would develop. I made the whole film in a cloud of unknowing. It was an enjoyable experience."
Johnnie To: "Naturally, when three directors work together, the greatest issue is creativity. I was happy to accept this project; it was a huge challenge. None of us knew exactly what the others were doing or had done. (…) In my opinion, it's not the best way to make a film, because, in the end, the whole lacks unity. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience."
On the stylistic unity of the three parts:
Tsui Hark: "It takes a long time to absorb the result. I don't think it's that important to arrive at a shared style. I believe it's more important to determine what each character represents to each individual director. (…) It's actually a matter of telling a special story from three different points of view. If I watch the film another time, I may detect another point of view. To my way of thinking, it's compelling and curious."
Ringo Lam: "When I started working on this film, we had all agreed that none of us would intervene in the work of the two others. As a result, each of us was polishing his own style; we didn't have to make any artistic sacrifices. So I'm quite curious to see how audiences will react to the three parts, and whether viewers will be able to identify who directed which segment."
Johnnie To: "Because I directed the ending, I took my time, to watch the first two parts. The strength of Triangle – which is also a personal theme of mine – lies in God's hand in this adventure. Fate is the absolute master, and the filmmaker's power to do anything to develop his story is a reflection of this control. The director can manipulate the emotions and themes of the film in whatever way he pleases."
On the challenge of following direction from three different filmmakers:
Simon Yam: "It's very important to be tolerant. With this type of project, it's extremely important. I had the feeling I was working without really understanding what my work meant. Many sessions lasted for eighteen or even twenty hours... A tolerant attitude enabled me to approach this challenge."
Louis Koo: "That happens to be the aspect of this assignment that I really enjoyed: working with three directors whose styles were totally different. (…) Since the directors didn't have the script, the actors had to tell them how the characters were developing."
Sun Hong Lei: "There are four great directors in Hong Kong, and three of them are in front of you today. I tried to prepare thoroughly for my part, because it was a big challenge. You have to work seriously with each of the directors, that's all."