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A bigger, better and bolder erotic thriller
DON'T wait too long to decide whether or not to catch Sam Loh's Siew Lup at the upcoming Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) because it might be the only time the erotic thriller will be screened uncut.
It follows in the vein of Loh's equally steamy Lan Tong, which premiered in full at the festival two years ago. A version with three minutes snipped off got a general release in cinemas after that.
But the 49-year-old remains unfazed when asked if he has pulled his punches so Siew Lup won't suffer the same fate as Lan Tong when it eventually gets a theatrical run, possibly next year.
"I don't make films for the censors," states the veteran director who produces family-friendly prime-time drama series for television when not working on twisted thrillers for the big screen.
His blood-soaked debut feature, Outsiders, was pulled from SGIFF in 2004 after he refused to cut it; and he says Siew Lup is "bigger, better and bolder" compared to Lan Tong.
If Siew Lup's NSFW (Not Safe for Work) trailer is anything to go by, he is not kidding as the film's voluptuous starlets Melody Low and Rebecca Chen engage in acts which cannot be mentioned here.
The former is a freelance actress-model whose 32D chest got plenty of attention when she appeared in Ah Boys To Men star Tosh Zhang's hip-hop music video Lingo Lingo last year, while the latter is a dancer-turned-actress who bares all for her big-screen debut in Siew Lup.
Loh reveals the role with the nude scenes were originally meant for Low but she was not as comfortable so it went to Chen instead. He took a chance with her even though she had no acting experience: "Rebecca is daring and very open (with her sexuality) as she is a dancer ... She is not afraid to show skin and it helps she's quite athletic because she also has quite a few fight scenes."
Siew Lup's plot revolves around ex-prostitute Mia (Chen) who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage with her abusive butcher husband Quan (Sunny Pang). When she meets funeral director Wu (Louis Wu), their passion for each other soon escalates into a torrid affair with dire consequences.
Loh reveals the film's steamy sex scenes weren't the toughest to shoot; instead, it was the action sequences that proved most challenging: "It took us three nights and we even shot overnight ... (Luckily) we had a set also because I don't think we can shoot a murder scene with all that blood anywhere else."
The film is not Loh's only film screening at this year's SGIFF; he is also one of the directors of the romantic drama anthology 4 Love, which will be screened under the Singapore Panorama section of the festival like Siew Lup.
Likewise, Pang can also be seen in the Indonesian-Singapore action thriller Headshot; and the accomplished actor and fight choreographer also sits on the Silver Screen Awards Jury Panel.
Siew Lup is part of a planned femme fatale trilogy that began with Lan Tong and Loh shares that he has already started writing the final film. "I might go in a different direction though - it'll be a sexy thriller but not necessarily erotic," he shares.
- Siew Lup screens at National Museum of Singapore on Nov 25 at 11.45pm; while 4 Love screens at the same venue on Nov 26 at 7pm