Friday, 30 December 2005

給Anita的信

Dearest Anita,

你好嗎?

一晃眼,已經兩年沒見你了。

過去這一年來,我的心情總算平復了,身體的小毛病也復元了。然而,不知怎地,有事沒事,總是想起你。

也許你知道了我的心事,所以早前特地到夢中來看我,對嗎?可惜具體的細節已記不起了──我這腦袋真不中用,大概真的患上老人癡呆症了──只記得你像個大姊姊一樣,帶我重溫小時候的美麗時光。二十年的快樂時代斗然間重現眼前,怎不教我目眩神馳,說不出的快活?

好夢由來容易醒,咱姊妹倆還沒來得及說「再見」,我已經要掙扎著起床,上班去了。你知道那天我的心情是多麼的惆悵?好容易盼到你來看我,居然「沒有一聲再見」便分手了。

當然,這世上等著你去探望的歌迷朋友數之不盡,要是讓個個也盡興而歸,恐怕你早給累壞了。無論如何,我仍得感謝你百忙中抽空來看我。我真的很高興。

正因如此,後來我在《西樓錯夢》的場刊裡看到「沉醉不願醒」五個字,為台上的女主角悲喜交集之餘,不禁又想起你──我不知道應該怎麼謝謝你給我的美夢,然而這出自肺腑的五個字,何嘗不是我的心情寫照?

儘管見不著你,你的聲音也從來沒有離開過我。無論在熙來攘往的大街上,還是在山高水長、言語不通的異鄉裡,耳畔只要響起你的聲音,一切頓然變得詩情畫意、沉靜安謐,猶如換了一個世界。

也許是小時候少不更事,居然沒有聽出你聲音裡的深遽、跌宕、圓融、空靈……(層次太豐富了,請恕我一枝枯筆未能盡錄,下刪九千字),只知道除了形象之外,你的聲音也是「百變」的。《似水流年》的蒼茫、《親密愛人》的溫柔、《IQ博士》的活潑,分野太明顯,只要不是聾子,任誰也聽得出來。但《似水流年》、《胭脂扣》和《女兒紅》的蒼涼與茫然,似乎各有不同;《似是故人來》、《抱緊眼前人》、《床前明月光》的意境,更非筆墨可以形容於萬一。

蘇東坡曾以「詩中有畫,畫中有詩」讚譽唐代的王維詩畫俱佳,而你何嘗不是「歌中有詩、歌中有畫」?何況你兼擅天下各路門派的絕技,只要你丹唇輕啟、丁香微捲,哪一首歌不是煥然一新、渾然天成?縱然珠玉在前,你總有另闢蹊徑、錦上添花的本領,教大家瞠目結舌。

說起來,《床前明月光》是我最喜愛的一張專輯,水準之高,近年罕見,而且每一首歌也是上乘佳作,更是難得,可惜在香港不怎麼流行。我不想諉過於語言障礙,畢竟一些比較淺易通俗的國語歌也盛極一時;只能說你再一次超越了時代,叫我等凡夫俗子無法追上。

說不出多麼喜歡《床前明月光》那份穿越古今的縹緲和空靈,縱然未能直追屈原大夫的《天問》,至少也可以告慰太白先生,沒墮了他老人家的威名。「來吟一首老詩,喝一杯老酒,明月啊,讓我擁抱,帶我翱翔」,多麼像他老人家《月下獨酌》的口吻?要是太白先生知道了,一定引你為知己,要你跟他「會須一飲三百杯」。不過,如果你真的在哪裡碰上他了,可別要喝得太多喔。酒喝多了,還是傷身的。

最近,MP3機裡一遍又一遍地重複著你的《花月佳期》,還有神通廣大的歌迷不知從哪兒找到的《等》完整版。無論聽了多少遍,總是不厭。

朋友取笑我不停地聽《花月佳期》是別有用心──相信你也知道了吧?莉娜在美國結婚了,明年二月中補辦婚禮呢──但當然不止於此。要是我真的這樣,怎麼對得起你?怎麼能厚著臉皮自稱是你的fans?

何況你應該知道,我最想親自為她唱《花月佳期》的那個人是誰。既然這個願望無法達成,只好一直叨唸著,就算是一種延綿不斷的祝福吧。

是了,還記得當日聽過你的演唱會後,我費了一番功夫才找到《花月佳期》的出處嗎?聽了兩三遍,便把這張唱片束之高閣了。沒法子,誰叫原唱者唱來欠韻味?編曲半中不西,在那個珠玉紛陳、琳瑯滿目的年代,已非一流佳作;何況經你金口一開,更是黯然失色。還是喜歡上海交響樂團的演繹──那清脆的銀鐘、莊嚴的風琴、柔和中帶點俏皮的小提琴,再加上你纏綿悱惻、意在神外的聲音,叫我夫復何言?

真想知道你的嗓子是怎麼構造的,生病的時候居然還可以這麼動聽。所以呢,當天你只使出三成功力,便把那些不自量力、爭先恐後地要跟你同台演出的傢伙,全打個落花流水,毫無招架之力,不禁拊掌暗笑。呵呵,你真頑皮,莫非真的要我們給你頂禮膜拜,佩服個五體投地才罷休?

還有《等》呢。相信你也知道,這些年來我極喜歡《等》的原版;但聽到你翻唱的版本後,我只能再次無言了。

天哪,我真擔心Danny會嫉妒你呢,快請他去喝杯咖啡陪陪罪吧──「功高震主」呀你。

好了,先說到這兒吧。新的一年快到了,祝你和Ann姊、各位好友前輩新年快樂。有空的時候別忘了來看我喔。

Forever yours,

Saturday, 17 December 2005

陰陽怪氣,空洞無物--《無極》觀後

看完《無極》,無語良久。

心底的疑問太多了。

然後,我無奈地哈哈大笑,響徹戲院,連其他觀眾也為之側目。

疑問一:不知甚麼時候開始,電影裡的中國男人變得陰陽怪氣,不是像被逼閹割、奴顏事主的太監,便是雌雄難辨、妖氣沖天的鬼魅魍魎。

《無極》再一次把這個中國特色發揚光大,真叫人無言以對。

製片邀請張東健、真田廣之參演《無極》,明顯是為了迎合韓國和日本市場。在今天全球化的電影市場中,實在無可厚非。

問題是,為甚麼戲裡瀟灑不羈、仁勇兼備、豪邁英偉的鐵漢,全派給張東健和真田廣之了?我不是憤青,也不是要追究為甚麼中國演員都是反派這麼膚淺的問題;而是想簡單的問一句:為甚麼戲裡連個像樣的中國男人也沒有?不論王侯將相,還是走狗奴才,一律陰陽怪氣,不是哭哭啼啼,就是貪生怕死,再不就是耍帥裝酷,叫人不寒而慄。

為甚麼要這樣?是為了表示中國人的「好客之道」,把好角兒都讓給遠渡而來的朋友,還是二話不說先來一次自我閹割,討好那些對中國文化戴著有色眼鏡的外國人?

疑問二:為甚麼內地、韓國和日本的演員陣容也算上乘之選,來到香港卻相中了聲色藝俱無的張柏芝和謝霆鋒?論名氣、論演技,兩人對於奪獎和賣座也毫無保證,除了在華語傳媒可以炒作一下兩人的戀愛八卦權作宣傳之外,一無是處。身為香港觀眾,我不禁為之汗顏無地。難道香港演員凋零如此?除這兩人以外,真的別無他選?

疑問三:到底故事想表達些甚麼?為甚麼劇情如此犯駁不通?

請恕秋盈魯鈍,除了滿眼眩目絢麗的電腦動畫之外,實在看不明白《無極》的故事。其實情節很簡單,就是一個叫做「傾城」的小女孩,衣衫襤褸,窮得沒飯吃,要在戰場的死人堆裡找吃的。後來她遇上一個叫「滿神」的仙女,問她是否願意過著錦衣玉食的生活,條件是她永遠得不到真愛;即使得到了,也會馬上消失。小女孩說「願意」,從此衣食無憂,二十年後更當上了王妃。後來她先後遇上一個戰無不勝的「花冠戰神」光明、名叫「昆崙」的奴隸,還有一個叫「無歡」的公爵。簡單來說,《無極》就是這三男一女的糾纏。

我當然明白這些天馬行空的神話故事,本來毋須理會甚麼來龍去脈,但總得自圓其說才行。問題是,戲裡的人物個個破空而來,實在叫人摸不著頭腦。例如:

一、「傾城」為甚麼叫「傾城」?這明顯是她爹娘給取的名字,不是成為顛倒眾生的尤物之後膾炙人口的稱呼。一個朝不保夕的叫化女孩居然叫「傾城」,實在匪夷所思。最要命的是,這名字有意無意間提高了觀眾的合理期望,於是在張柏芝出場的一剎那,也造就了戲裡最強烈的反高潮。眾人翹首期待的熱情,在一秒間直墮冰窖,全場鴉雀無聲,除了滿地垃圾外,並沒有發生不愉快的事情。我不禁佩服香港觀眾的修養。

二、「滿神」為甚麼叫「滿神」?「滿神」跟「無極」有甚麼關係?她向傾城和光明發表了預言,令人不禁想起莎士比亞原著Macbeth裡的女巫。但是,為甚麼她只向傾城和光明透露玄機?昆崙明明牽涉其中,為甚麼「滿神」從來沒有在他面前出現?「滿神」預言光明必死之後,也沒有再現身,為甚麼?

三、「無極」到底是甚麼?「滿神」初遇光明時,曾給他看「無極」裡預示國王之死的情景。那麼,「無極」是可以預見未來的水晶球嗎?好像不是。除了「滿神」的預言外,戲裡並沒有再提起「無極」這個概念。據說陳凱歌曾在一次訪問中提到,每個人心裡都有一個「無極」,那又是甚麼?跟戲裡的故事有甚麼關係?英文片名不是直譯「無極」,而是「承諾」(Promise);那麼,「無極」就等於「承諾」嗎?為甚麼?

四、無歡公爵(先抓一個破綻:中國古代的爵位,自周朝起,分為公、侯、伯、子、男五等,慣例上只稱呼「某某公」、「某某伯」之類,卻無「公爵」、「伯爵」連稱。戲裡不知根據何經何典,居然連稱「公爵」,想是陳凱歌讀翻譯小說讀昏了頭,把這個混到中國神話裡來了。)應該是全劇最莫名其妙的人物--傾城還算不上,因為她連個完整的人物也不是。無歡不但與光明為敵,更攻滅雪國,濫殺無辜,又是為了甚麼?他說自從小時候被傾城欺騙後,便不再相信任何人,連自己也不相信,跟他草菅人命有甚麼關係?他欲得傾城而後快,更不惜公開要脅國王,我都能懂;但當時光明和傾城尚未走在一起,他憑甚麼與光明作對?

疑問四:戲裡的道具、造型和場景,看得出是經過一番心思設計,但細想之下卻絕無用處,不知其所以然。例如無歡公爵用一個金絲鳥籠囚禁傾城,為甚麼呢?金絲鳥籠有甚麼象徵意義嗎?昆崙第一次不費吹灰之力從籠頂救出傾城,第二次卻無能為力,為甚麼?

再舉一個例子,戲裡的王城,築在一個四邊是懸崖的平台上,東南西北各有城門和橋樑連接懸崖的另一端,城內卻是一圈又一圈蚊香似的飛簷厚牆,唯恐觀眾看不到全貌,更來一個全景wide shot。為甚麼?更別說為甚麼天下無敵的將軍要穿上嵌滿鮮紅玫瑰、招蜂引蝶的盔甲;公爵的奴才鬼狼(為甚麼叫鬼狼?)要把燒傷了的臉塗得又銀又灰。

疑問五:故事到了後半部,觀眾才發現「承諾」似乎是故事的主題。當年傾城答應了滿神的條件,所以享盡榮華富貴,但也失去了得到真愛的機會。然而,穿上了不死黑袍的昆崙,說要帶傾城回到過去,讓她重新選擇。那麼,是讓她選擇「真愛」嗎?「滿神」會答應嗎?如果承諾可以推倒重來,還能算是「承諾」嗎?

既然如此,昆崙大哥,不如請你把我也帶去,好讓我拿回票錢和時間,可以嗎?

也許有人會說,你沒注意嗎?《無極》的宣傳語是「三億四千萬瑰麗特技鉅製」,特技動畫才是賣點,不是演員,更不是劇情和演技。誰叫你一廂情願為了陳凱歌而買票進場呢?掏錢之前沒帶眼睛,受騙了也是活該。嘿。

如此亂七八糟、故弄玄虛的《無極》,居然成為「金球獎」最佳外語片的入圍作品,真叫人啼笑皆非。這再一次彰顯了外國人的愚昧無知,又助長了中國電影界崇洋媚外的心理。

唉。我們已經折損了一個張藝謀,難道還要再賠上一個陳凱歌嗎?

Friday, 16 December 2005

Hopeless Devotion

Never has a bride on earth been able to stir up such a complicated mix of emotions inside me.

Words can hardly describe precisely what they are. Be it "bitter happiness", or "joyful sadness".

Thanks to a friend who always teases me for my passion for Rina, I managed to see some pictures of my favourite Korean actress in her wedding gown with her fiance. Although I was told that there was a programme in Korea showing how the couple took their wedding photos in late November, (DARN - I should have visited Korea four weeks later than I did so that I could try my luck to see if my dream of running into Rina on the busy streets of Seoul might come true...) I never thought that I would be able to see those lovely pictures with my own eyes. While the television programme was out of my reach, it is already good enough to have a glimpse of Rina wearing a warm, happy and contented smile in the arms of her beloved one.

Having said that, a strong wave of mixed feelings swept through inside me when Rina's shy but warm smiles, especially those when she was holding her fiance, came into my eyesight. Of course I was overwhelmed with joy for she has found someone she loves and, more importantly, someone who loves her and is committed to be with her in the years to come, I couldn't help thinking of all the hardships Rina has gone through all these years before this unforgettable moment arrived.

I really don't know why I couldn't feel happier than I did without having a strong sadness at the same time. To tell the truth, Rina's wedding photos almost drove me to the brink of tears.

As the old saying goes, "No pain, no gain." However, there is essentially no association in every possible sense between Rina's preceding hardships in life and her current happiness of love and marriage. And I hate myself when the idea that her happiness appears to be a reward of inevitable suffering emerges in my mind. The question is - why does it take so long for Rina to meet her Mr Right? Why is she chosen to be the one who has to suffer that much, even risking her life at work but not the others, when so many people out there enjoy a successful acting career in terms of popularity and take it for granted?

On the rational side, of course I know it is life. Everyone has his/her own life and it is something that we can do nothing about. To cite my favourite analogy, life is like a pre-programmed role-play game in which each one of us is Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, although most of us are not consciously aware of. We have to meet challenges and take rewards every day without knowing the full picture and when the game is going to be over. Someone we don't know is actually controlling the game. All the choices and decisions we have made based on "rational" or "impulsive" assumptions are eventually proven to be no more than pre-programmed options we are bound to take. Someone who is convinced that people can change their lives often fail to realise that they succeed because they are chosen to be successful.

On the emotional side, however, I can't help grumbling from time to time for what Rina has endured over the years, and most recently, the hostile and unfair criticisms Rina has received from most of the audience, among others, despite her superb performance in Dae Jang-geum, the Korean drama that has stirred up unprecedented popularity in Hong Kong and many other countries around the world. I can't help wondering why Rina was chosen to go through all these but not others, who I am not affectionate for, if such things are supposed to happen at all. Some may argue that such undesirable happenings may serve to arouse sympathy from her supporters that will further strengthen their passion for her, but to me, Rina's distinctive performance as an actress alone is suffice to justify her admirers' loyalty and appreciation. Attributes other than her irresistible charm, dedication and hard work that make her outperform her peers will by no means do her any good. She deserves a formal recognition of her achievements in acting but not anything that may arouse sympathy from the audience - as if she would become an inferior object of generosity and benevolence. This violently denies her as a respectable actress. And as a loyal fan of hers, this is the least thing I would like to see ever in my life.

That is also why when the media and the general public received the leading cast with sizzling frenzy earlier this year, I couldn't help feeling extremely sad and sorry for Rina - she played one of the four leading roles highlighted in the drama but was the only one left out in the visits to Hong Kong. Even though I learnt later that she was having a wonderful time with her fiance in the United States, where they first met only in February this year, I still think the fact that she has found her loved one is not good enough to compensate her loss for missing the opportunity of being formally recognised for a difficult job, if the most significant in her career, that couldn't have been done better.

Before I go further, I must admit that this is where the "Fans Syndrome" sets in and demonstrates the prowess of being the devoted supporter of someone else he/she does not necessarily know in person. As a matter of personal experience of myself and some close friends, the struggle between rationality and emotional fantasies or fallacies dominates a significant part of the mental activities of fans. Those who have transcended the boundary between sense and sensibility may either become insane creatures as portrayed in The Fan or be transformed into an immortal like Laozi.

In common sense we are used to identify affection under the categories of "family", "friendship" and "romance" etc, as if these are the only classifications of emotions that any human being can have. I think it makes perfect sense to add a new category "fans", as one of my best friends suggested. Yet there are still numerous sub-branches that can be analysed and developed under this category. Ten supporters of the same actor/singer can have a slightly different feeling about the one they look up to and yet express their affection in ways that are different from each other. Meanwhile, the same person who admires more than one person or an object at the same time may also be able to tell how delicately different his/her feelings towards one person from another.

The "Fans Syndrome" is something that we are so used to and yet we know so little of. As a loyal fan of someone for more than 20 years I didn't come to realise the magnitude of such kind of emotions until very recently and was extremely shocked by myself. I have seen books and articles that discuss the "Fans Syndrome" or "Fans Phenomenon" of a particular TV series or a person, but have yet to see a meaningful discourse on "fans" as a group of everyday life encounters from a holistic approach. Perhaps it is the complicity and extremely individualistic characteristics of fans that prevent social observers from inappropriately generalise the phenomenon with a highly condensed theoretical framework.