A master of controversy, Hong Kong filmmaker Scud’s movies are bold, explicit, taboo-breaking and unafraid to examine the darkest sides of romance and longing. Much of his work, in fact, has faced major censorship in Hong Kong. “Homosexuality remains taboo in conservative Asia. LGBT films cannot be screened, nor officially distributed in China, rendering any such projects financially unviable, although my films have constantly topped the sales of the underground market,” the filmmaker said during a 2013 interview.
Scud (real name Danny Cheng Wan-Cheung) was born in mainland China during the Great Cultural Revolution and raised by his grandmother before moving to Hong Kong at the age of 13. He worked for multi-national companies, founded a publicly listed company, and acquired a bachelors degree thru part-time study. He then moved to Australia for a permanent residence. Realizing that he had fulfilled the dreams of others but not his own, he returned to Hong Kong in 2005 to start an independent film company, Artwalker, where he wrote and directed City without Baseball, Permanent Residence, Amphetamine, Love Actually… Sucks! and, most recently, Utopians (2015).
Voyage, which was made in 2013, but is just now getting a major release in the United States thanks to Breaking Glass Pictures, follows young psychiatrist Ryo (Ryo van Kooten), who attempts to find catharsis by ruminating on the stories of his patients who have taken their own lives. While on a lone voyage off the coast of Southeast Asia, he writes about each patient, the film staging each of these vignettes in a beautiful surrealist landscape. As Ryo tries to find solace, he realizes that life and death are both part of the same great journey in this surprisingly playful meditation on depression.
It might not sound particularly pleasant, but Scud is able to handle dark themes with great beauty. Not only are his visuals gorgeous, but he packs them with tons of male nudity and eroticism. Check out the trailer for Voyage below and make sure to pre-order your copy here. It comes to DVD in February.