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Taste

Bao Le, Weijie Lai, Thao Dong Thi Phuong

Singapore, Vietnam

synopsis

Bassley is a Nigerian footballer playing in Saigon to support his family back home. When he breaks his leg, his contract is terminated. With nowhere to go, Bassley finds work as a masseur for middle-aged Vietnamese women. Whatever money he makes, he stuffs into the plaster cast.
Seeking additional income, Bassley works as a prostitute. He finds four women from working class backgrounds that have never previously met. Together, they all arrive at one of the women’s old family homes. They strip down and over the course of three days and two nights, they return to a primal state: they clean together, cook together, eat together, sleep together, and have sex multiple times.
Afterwards, Bassley attempts to enter their lives in more ordinary ways. They all seem to have moved on, but something has changed in Bassley.
It is dark, Bassley walks through a dense rainforest, walking in the opposite direction are two wild boar. Bassley stops to look at them, then continues walking into the darkness.

intention

The idea for “Taste” first came to me when I was in high school, observing tired African men sitting at the back of the bus at the end of a long day. This image has stayed with me.
In Saigon, there are many Africans seeking employment and opportunities. They are often preyed upon and exploited and end up with no money. They have to find other means of survival on the streets of Saigon.
But I do not want to make a film that exploits the plight of an African man living in Vietnam. Bassley is in many ways a manifestation of my own private fears and questioning my identity within a community. It is an intimate sensory meditation into what it means to be human.
The film will be shot with minimal cutting. It is important to me to respect the spaces we film in as living entities that need to breathe, and to observe the emotions of the characters inhabiting that space unfold in an unobstructed way. Instead of using music, the environment and conversations will create the melody of the film.

budget, distribution & sales

Le Bao is a filmmaker with an incredible story. He was born homeless in the slums of Saigon, fell in love with cinema, and is driven by a desire to create through pure instinct and without judgement or agenda. “Taste” is a film whose subject matter is grounded in a very real and relevant social issue – especially in our current climate – but approached in a way that is utterly distinct, philosophical, and related to the larger question of what it means to be human. Our approach towards exposing the project will be quite careful and curated. “Taste” is a film that will require a delicate touch and patience in order to fulfill its potential. It will be positioned as a visionary niche project from an uncompromising new voice coming out of Southeast Asia. From our time in the Cannes Atelier, we were privileged to have received interest from a number of potential European co-producers and international sales agents. The production budget of “Taste” will not exceed € 450.000. We are confident that with strong understanding partners we will be able to receive funding from sources such as the Hubert Bals Fund, the French CNC, Sørfond, the Open SEA Fund, with the remaining financing coming through private investment.

videos

Bassley, an injured Nigerian illegal, seeks refuge in the workingclass Vietnamese women he sleeps with.
5763-bao-le
Bao Le

Film Director

lebao249@gmail.com

409-weijie-lai
Weijie Lai

Production

weijie@ewfilms.com.sg

5750-thao-dong-thi-phuong
Thao Dong Thi Phuong

Production

thao.taste@gmail.com

production notes

original title
Vi

directed by
Le Bao

produced byE&W Films
3 Jalan Anak Bukit, #26-06
588998, Singapore
Singapore, Singapore

in co-production with
Le Bien Pictures - Vietnam

total production budget
€ 450.000