L.A. sojourn: I usually stay at my brother's house in Pacific Palisades. He's a painter and has a great library of beautiful art books. Film is so image-oriented; I'm always inspired when I visit him.
On directing Xiu-Xiu: The Sent Down Girl: We filmed near the Tibetan plateau. I've never seen a piece of sky so dramatic, moody, and full of color. It's symphonic, something you can hear, not just see. Tibet is a harsh place, but the people -- although there are very few of them -- were very warm and hospitable.
Favorite place: Shanghai. I grew up there.
Perfect afternoon: On weekdays, some of the parks can be very empty, if there is ever an empty place in Shanghai. One of them, Fuxing, has a restaurant and bar in a pretty garden. I could sit there for hours. On Sundays, there's a flea market that's got everything from old magazines to wonderful antiques.
Favorite hotels: Amanpuri on Phuket is exquisite, with all its teak and its black swimming pool. For its sense of history, I love Raffles in Singapore.
Next project: This fall I'll be in New York City directing another movie, a love story called Autumn in New York.

--Interviewed by Emily Berquist