So Long, Farewell

At first glance, Malaysian-born writer-director Yen Tan would seem to have little in common with his new film, Ciao, the story of grieving Texan Jeff (Adam Neal Smith), who learns that his late friend had an e-mail relationship with hunky Italian Andrea (Alessandro Calza). But Tan's art imitates life in unexpected ways.




The look of the film is very locked down:
stationary cameras, sterile locations. Was that a
thematic choice or just a financial necessity?
As you know, when you shoot something with a
limited budget, it's always easy to fall into the
pratfall of a film that looks too cheap or screams
low-budget. So I always knew going in that I had to define
the film with a very specific style that worked within
our needs. So keeping those shots very simplistic was
a way of giving off a very strong sense of style while
not keeping things out of our economic needs. In the case of
Ciao, I think the style worked thematically
with the film, so it all made sense.

This is a very serious film. Do you ever think,
Wow, I really want to follow this up with a madcap
romantic comedy?
[Laughs] I don't know! I don't consider
myself as one of those film snobs; I mean, in some
ways I am, but I enjoy my share of guilty pleasures. I
enjoy studio films as much as the next guy. There are
as many bad independent films as bad studio films. So if I
can do something madcap, I'm all for it!

- Ciao is in
theaters in New York City now and will open in San
Francisco on December 12. For information on forthcoming
screenings around the United States visit

Tags: film