Synopsis: A best-selling writer is seduced, then kidnapped by an admirer, who accuses him of raping her 20 years ago and exploiting her personal tragedy as a plot of his latest book. While the author insists that his novel is strictly a work of fiction, the erratic woman relentlessly tries to rip a confession out of him.
International Title: The Very Last Day
Chinese Title: 最後一日 (Zui Hou Yi Ri)
Language: Mandarin Chinese (English subtitles)
Running Time: 123 min.
Format: 2.39:1 (B&W + Color)
I was sexually assaulted by my best friend’s stepfather when I was a teenager. The man was a mentor and a friend (or so I thought). He was also a respectable novelist while I, on the other end, was just a boy from the projects, raised by my single mother. After the facts, I have failed to find an understanding soul, so I have lived with this secret for most of my adult life. Unable to speak openly about what had happened, I’ve tried to write about it, but each attempt was too painful to go through as it made me feel both shame and disgust, mostly with myself. So, instead of recounting this event in fiction form, I decided to take a few steps back and focus on the themes and characters rather than on sordid (or so I felt) events.
This is how the first draft of ‘The Very Last Day’ came to be. But that version was too raw, too violent, too angry. Giving it perspective wasn’t enough, I also had to give it time. Ten years’ time and almost that many rewrites, to be precise. In the original draft, the characters were more two-dimensional: the kidnapper was crazy, the writer tortured for about 60 out of 90 pages, and the wife non-existent. These 10 years allowed me to find a certain peace with myself and with the “material,” so I could stop judging the characters and feed them with aspects of my own personality: the kidnapper is now a victim as well, the writer is also a struggling creator, and the wife is a wounded and betrayed woman.
And then finally came the moment to make the film and by that, I mean sharing it first with my cast and crew. As it happens, many confided that they found in the script reasons to make it their own. Some expanded and explained to me exactly what it meant to them, some others didn’t––I am all too aware of how hard it is to share some feelings and experiences, so I didn’t press for more. One thing is for sure, it was a personal affair for all involved and I am forever grateful to them for the collective act of creation that ‘The Very Last Day’ has now become, for after all these years I finally found understanding souls.