Sometimes, henchmen dream of musicals…
Director’s Notes - Roseanne Liang:
“Henchman is a post-modern love story. On the one hand, it flies in the face of Hollywood convention and declares to the world that indeed, everybody does get to love somebody sometimes, whether they are pretty or not; however, it also ends on a fantastical finale that in all reality, is probably the hallucination of a lovesick desperado.
I wanted Henchman to be uplifting, yet bittersweet. Audience members will invariably take from the end what they will- the incurable romantics (like me) will imagine a happily ever after, while the more cynical (me also) will imagine Rufus in therapy.
Either way, I wanted to tell a playful story about an odd henchman. I wanted to tell it with a number of set pieces that encompassed a wide range of human emotion from rage and humiliation to love at first sight.
I wanted the story to be funny, thought-provoking, touching. I wanted everyone to understand that Rufus’ need for love was something that we all shared.
In the end, Henchman is a result of my own incurable romanticism. It is a story born from a diet of romance films, and pays homage to their sunny outlook. Even if the end is unlikely, a kiss is still a kiss. I like to believe that even in this cynical world, everyone has a chance at happiness, even if it’s all in one’s head.
Henchman was my first short film shot on film. The experience could not have been better. Challenging and educational, I was lucky enough to have a tremendously supportive crew, a D.O.P that I could trust implicitly, and producers who did their all to bring my vision to life. The lead actor, Bruce Hopkins, was a joy to direct, and completely perfect for the part.
It was just my luck, too, that halfway across the world in London a band by the name of The Divine Comedy had just released The Perfect Lovesong. This song could not have suited the tone of the film better. Intelligent, funny and honest, it poked fun at all the soppy things I wanted poking at, while remaining undeniably sweet.
Henchman is my kind of off-beat romantic comedy. Without its bittersweet ironies, its triumph of love against adversity wouldn’t seem so poignant. Delusional or not, Henchman has a happy ending. If anyone who saw it allowed some part of themselves to fall for its sweetness, then my job would be done.”
2003 - London Film Festival
Colour, 35 mm, 1:1.85, Dolby