Starring: Michael Rhodes, Kim Lieu, Clark Johnson
In 1993, I was travelling on a London bus when I saw
this ad in the back of Time Out (a guide to what's happening in the
capital). It was for a mail-order bride video," relates Srinivas Krishna,
Lulu's director who co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Armstrong. "I
thought the whole idea was pretty seedy, but I sent off for it anyway.
"I felt this tape was one of the most chilling documents of the 20th
century. It raises so many questions: Who watches the tape? What type
of man uses it? Why did these women choose to get married that way,
and did they even have a choice?" says Krishna (Masala) of the story's
genesis and subsequent development. "The tape gave you no real knowledge
about them I saw the surface of each woman, but their faces divulged
nothing. What disturbed me most as a filmmaker was how could an image
be so devoid of meaning?"
Fascinated by the premise, Krishna crafted the intriguing story of Lulu,
a Vietnamese mail-order bride, played by newcomer Kim Lieu whose only
experience of acting was as a tree in a high-school production. Working
behind the cosmetics counter of a Toronto department store, Lulu's make-up
and public persona hide a refugee with a troubled past and an even more
disturbing present, given the three men in her life (Clark Johnson,
Michael Rhodes and Manuel Aranguiz).