The Patient
Written and directed by
Edward Lau
Produced by EKW Associates, LLC


This is a story about a young psychiatrist who succumbs to the delusion of a patient/friend. Of course, being a Freudian, the seeds of her mental breakdown were planted by her mother in her childhood.

Kelly rents an apartment, starts her practice and meets Eve, one of her patients, a young Chinese woman who believes there is an evil cult that holds rituals in an old Chinatown theater and beats people in a bag. Of course, Kelly understands this is no more than a delusion. But after a time, Kelly becomes persuaded. Anyone can be an evil member of this coven, even me. Maybe, maybe not.

I show Kelly the vacant apartment in the Chinatown
building that I manage.

"This apartment is just perfect for you."

On this page is the perspective of Joyce, the landlady (me). As always, the photos were taken while shooting scenes I'm in. A hard lesson I learned: always bring a camera to the set or you may end up with nothing. Sorry, you'll have to see the movie or buy the DVD, when it's done to get the whole story -- or as a psychiatrist would say, the gestalt.

This psychiatrist, Kelly, played by Rebecca Washo, is convinced by her mentor, Dr. Bienefeld, played by Greg Pedemonte, to move to San Francisco and start a practice there. Her downtown office is near Chinatown and she notices a "For Rent" sign which leads her to a building of which I am the LANDLADY. I spy her in the hallway and convince her to come and take a look.

Neighbors drop by to say hello as
Kelly and I sign the rental agreement.

I have to speak in Chinese to some of the tenants in this scene. The young boy asks me if Kelly really is a psychiatrist because she looks so young. I answer. "Hai'lá. Qui hai." Yes, she is. The whole cast, all but Rebecca and myself, Chinese, were rooting for me. I repeatedly failed them, but there was at least one good take.

This is the location in El Sobrante used for
the Chinatown apartment. Go figure. I thought I'd have it easy -- walking to work for the shoot since I live on Nob Hill.
No such luck. Had to hustle for rides each shooting day.

I bring a number of fellow tenants to meet Kelly.
We bring food since she says she doesn't cook, and
make it a party. My husband is played by Bob Mah.

Ed Lau works with Kelly and me on our motivation.
I run into Kelly at a local dry cleaner. I tell Kelly a bit about Eve's (her new best friend played by Shoyi Cheng) past. Seems a previous friend of Eve's disappeared and was found dead shortly after the two met. Eve was a suspect, and she went to a psychiatrist -- to build an insanity plea, to look like a distraught victim? "I suggest you be careful about who you befriend," I warn.

Aha! The location for this scene was actually
a dry cleaners at 1801 Market St., SF.
I drove my bike to work. What a pleasure.

Kelly and Eve squabble, fight, get very loud and violent. I knock on Kelly's door to check and see if she's all right. I love my new pajamas. I played this one up like Lucille Ball. Once Kelly tells me everything's all right. I really want to get in and take a look around, so I ask for butter. No butter? Milk? I crank my head through the door trying to see what's happening. She slams the door in my face.

Notice the daylight out the door? The scene was shot from the far left, so one couldn't see this wasn't an apartment building.

Kelly is in the throes of a psychotic break. Her friend Eve has convinced her that there is an evil conspiracy in Chinatown. The delusion has progressed to the point where Kelly now believes we're all going to kill her because she knows too much.

Director Ed told us all to approach Kelly
with demonic smiles. Well, we tried.

This was a high shot so the camera people
had to climb the walls.

The following morning, all of us in the building are worried about Kelly and what might be going on in there. Also, Eve is now missing and her parents want to know if Kelly is holding her in the apartment against her will. Kelly has installed bolts in both her front and back doors, so my keys are useless. Here we all are in the hallway with the police inspectors and a few uniformed cops. We have to break in.

I am violently allergic to cats and tell all my directors as soon as I get a part that I can't work in a cat environment. Ed respected that. Unfortunately, I got real sick in this hallway. I had no idea why. There were 8 dogs in the building and we all had fun with the dogs between takes, but I didn't see any cats and neither did Ed. As I staggered out at the end of my last take, I passed the building manager and told him I was allergic to his building. He said there were lots of cats on that floor and they always walk in the hallway. I don't need to see them to get sick. I hear there's a new drug that might stop my allergy. Wouldn't it be great not to have to think about cats anymore...

The hallway of the Chinatown apartment building was shot in Oakland near Lake Merritt, a lovely neighborhood. Don't worry about the ambulance outside the building. That's the gaffer's truck. Very useful and he got it on sale from the Petaluma Fire Dept.

I have a word with Inspector Washington, played by Steve Crum.
"Must we brake down the door? If someone is dead in there,
I'll never be able to rent that apartment again!"
And once in, we encounter Kelly's sad fate. We also find Eve, having been stowed under the bed by Kelly (to keep her safe or to just keep her).

Shocked, stunned and rather upset.
Dr. Bienefeld is the tall guy.

Lucy is found (seated in black) and her parents are relieved. Note the newspaper covered windows.
Sure sign of a psychotic.

I'm second from the top, second from the left.
Mason Hsieh, the food delivery boy in the film
is about to bonk my head.

Here's the group photo from the run through. I knew Edward was serious when he called for a run through. Not all directors do that. Not only did he want us to read together, but he set aside a lot of time for us to mingle, meet and greet, hang, as it were. He fed us, too. It was a good idea and we all got a feel for each other.

Another group shot at the end of the film.
And we're all still talking to each other.
I love that blue sweater; I'm a winter, obviously.

Our pensive director/writer Edward Lau

The conscientious & artistic DP Jeffrey Brown

And where would we be
without this magic box?

Oh, the memories, the good times,
the artistic pursuit!

Rebecca Washo (Kelly), Shoyi Cheng (Eve),
Gordon G. Leong (Ben and driver)

Man, myth, legend, Edward Lau.

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