by Kenneth Bi
In the East, the drum is the king of all musical instruments. The intense sound of the drum can penetrate a man's body. The solemn beat of the drum can open a man's heart. The powerful vibration of the drum can awaken a man's soul.
Sid, the rebellious son of Kwan, a controlling and savage triad boss in Hong Kong, has to flee to Taiwan upon enraging his father's adversary, a powerful tycoon and underground business leader. Hiding out in the mountains, Sid encounters a group of Zen drummers whose mesmerizing art, rigorous physical training, and austere way of life pique this hostile urban young man's interest and he requests to join the group. Although Sid despises his father, he is turning out to be a younger version of him: wild and defiant. Immersing in the world of the Zen drummers eventually converts him into a firm and focused young man. Sid's independence from the triad life and his father is profoundly challenged, however, when a twist of fate awaits him back home in Hong Kong and forces him to choose between loyalty to his family and his new found faith in himself ...
In December of 2000, I saw a performance in Hong Kong by a drumming troupe from Taiwan that changed my view of life completely. Not one word was spoken throughout the entire performance, yet they seemed to have spoken volumes. In the two and half hours of drumming, they exuded a graceful energy of inner calm that was extremely powerful. Merely a few minutes into the performance, the audience realized that they were watching men and women who have truly made sacrifices for their art. I learned that the troupe of twelve men and women train and practice at the top of a mountain in Taiwan. In the idyllic setting of the mountain, they practice Tai Chi, martial arts, meditation, and drumming. Initially there was no electricity, running water or transportation up the peak, so only those who were absolutely determined and committed had the mental and physical stamina to remain in the group.
Greatly inspired and affected by their performance, I made my journey up the mountain to meet them, interview them and to witness people who were willing to take the long road in today's world of ease and convenience. One of the drummers said, without pretension, "If you drum for one week, you will have one week's worth of skill. If you drum for three years, you will have three years worth of skill. There is no short cut." In interviewing them, I found them to be sincere, passionate and open-minded. They were a group of people with diverse backgrounds. Most were local Taiwanese and Taiwanese aborigines, a couple hailed from Malaysia, and a few came from Hong Kong. After researching their philosophies and daily routines, I began writing »The Drummer«. My last few scripts had been comedies and in »The Drummer« I found myself preoccupied in a serious subject matter.
I began looking at different aspects of myself and how they collided with one another. The animal in me colliding with my rational self, and the philosophical thrusting against my emotional side. Which one of these aspects defines us and how do we come to terms with all our different facets? Even if we find peace in a peaceful place, it seems that nirvana is elusive and we can never truly be in a state of perfect happiness because the next trial to test us is always around the corner. »The Drummer« therefore, is one such journey of self-discovery.
Jaycee Chan - Sid
Tony Leung Ka Fai - Kwan
Lee Sinje - Hong Dou
Roy Cheung - Ah Chiu
Josie Ho - Sina
Kenneth Tsang - Stephen Ma
and U Theatre
Director and Scriptwriter: Kenneth Bi
Producers: Rosa Li, Peggy Chiao, Thanassis Karathanos
Executive Producers: Albert Yeung, William Fu, Rosa Li
Cinematographer: Sam Koa
Editors: Isabel Meier, Kenneth Bi
Art Director: Alex Mok
Music: Andre Matthias
Sound Design: Tu Duu-Chih
A co-production of Kenbiroli Films Ltd, Twenty Twenty Vision and Arc Light Films Ltd
Format: 35 mm / 24fps / 1:1,85 / Colour / Dolby Srd
Length: 115 Min
Original Language: Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese)
Original title: The Drummer