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  • Writer's pictureDennis Yueh-Yeh Li

CALIGULA Director's Note

One must reflect upon oneself daily. This is what I’ve learned and carried with me from my culture. When I first read Caligula, what struck me the most is the phrase, “the only mistake one makes in life is to cause others suffering.” I looked around, in the streets, on the social media and mass media, and all I’ve seen is that people blame others for causing suffering. Rarely did we ever look into ourselves and questioned maybe we are the ones who are part of these trouble from the beginning. Sartre states, “l’enfer, c’est les autres.” One must not forget “one” creates “others,” and likewise, “others” creates “one.” What Caligula speaks to me is exactly his awakening moment. The moment that no one knows what he’s been through, which turns him into a tyrant. He is going after the absolute freedom. He wants to liberate all, with the decision on this destructive manner as his tactics. What I am interested in not his tyrannical temperament. Instead, I find myself in Caligula. There have been moments when I felt deep despair. I saw people out on the streets day in and day out clocking their routine, being who they “are supposed to be.” Man, woman, binary, nonbinary, banker, waiter, plumber, teacher. We live in conformity, and yet we are barely aware of it. For times, I thought about a total annihilation, because only through that, we can all start over and think again. And I believe, I am not the only one that identifies with Caligula on that mentality, and I even find it exciting to notice people who repulsively disassociate with Caligula. I want to create a moment when we can freely respond to Caligula, and are forced to examine viscerally and intelligently who we are in relation to others. And from there, we reconstruct our existence, and the existence of this reality.

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