Just a few minor differences in the middle. I personally prefer the second one.
Overall, after watching the two films without sound, I realise that it feels choppy. I might try another edit to see how it will fit. Maybe a one take shot is all it takes. It is hard to find the right audio element to compliment the visuals.
Following the shoot of my grandfather in his trunks, I decided to make a radical shift in concept.
I took inspiration from some of my favourite documentary films:
A film about the filmmaker trying to find out more about his father. I like the director’s use of found images to compliment the soundbites. Also, this is unlike the film I’m trying to make but I love the fact that it was a conversation between a son and his father. This is part of the first scene:
A film about- well, to explain the film would be to ruin your first experience. I like that this film was directed at a person; as if this film was meant for someone.
I’ve talked about this already, but I liked the idea of holding a shot long after what was needed – just like this famous scene in The Graduate:
With these references in mind, I’ll proceed with a first draft.
This past week, we watched Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog.
I had already watched this once, but I had yet to watch it in greater depth.
I liked the director’s use of holding the shot much longer than it was intended. It felt starkly real and human.
Of course, the footages of bears are interesting in itself, but the real story is actually about the Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell.
It was quite interesting how the story was structured. Herzog would provide commentary ever so often throughout the film. I feel this acknowledges the fact that this is the opinion of a person and not trying to set the entire film up as something to be digested and accepted to be as truth. Herzog wants us to form an opinion of our own. This was quite powerful for me. Most times, we have to take a step back in order to realise that documentaries have their own agenda.
It got dry at some parts but as a whole, the film was intriguing, even on 2nd viewing.
On 22nd Oct, I met up with my grandfather for dinner to celebrate my birthday. I asked him if he was coming over on Sunday for mahjong.
“Ya, you want to take picture again?”
“Yea, I want to film you doing your poses again.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.”
Next day, this happened-
Yeah! Watch it in all it’s conversational glory. I didn’t expect him to actually bring his trunks as well. This was interesting and so surreal.
I’m not entirely sure if this is the look I want but it is definitely a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
I did a couple of different versions as well, just to get some variety
Personally, I think that either the topless one or the trunks one works better. What I dislike about the trunks shot is that it was shot a little too tightly. I doubt that I will be able to recreate these shots again. It just won’t have the same intrinsic experience attached to it anymore. I like the topless one too. It has a little more of an organic feel to it as it was the first shot I took.
I will now have to figure out if I want to readjust the concept to fit the shots. It definitely tells a different story now. I still want to hold on to the idea of having a landscape of a person – that is to say that a person is a culmination of experiences and the people who have entered and left our lives. It could still be in appreciation of it but I don’t know if the concept will be as strong if I were to place a longer focus on my grandfather than the people who have come into his life.
Alternatively, the credits could come crawling along with the shots. The credits could also come in, fading in and out of the scene. It does feel like it might come off as generic or dull/uninspired. I need to think harder about how to go about expressing this concept.
Trying to analyse this film at this point will probably not come out right; having only watched this film once. Instead, I will talk about what I liked about this film.
First of all, I loved the ending of the film where the timelines were split in two; with Thong being aware and confused about it. It breaks the fourth wall and makes us realise that we are watching a film. It left me feeling confused and intrigued. I’m still trying to figure out why this worked for this film. I have a feeling that if this was done on just any other film, it would have fallen flat. It is a tricky thing to pull off. There is still a lot to figure out about this film. It was an interesting experience in cinema, to say the least.
Secondly, the use of different styles of filming was, while not entirely groundbreaking, used in good taste to fit the narrative. The film made use of cinematic styles, documentary styles, and ever photography to give each scene its own unique flavour. There are times when everything feels so real and then there are times when it feels detached.
Lastly, it was confusing how it was never explicitly mentioned when Uncle Boonmee was recalling his past lives. Yet at the same time, it was refreshing and we are left to think about it. Which parts are his past lives? Is the film itself a recollection of a past life? Again, I can’t really make any sound conclusions yet.
Having never watched an Apitchapong film, it was an unusual first experience. It is quite challenging trying to keep up with what is really going on in the film. It challenges the audience. I am not entirely sure if this is the kind of film I want to produce down the line, but it is definitely a film worth thinking about.
During the presentation of project 2 a.k.a Screen to Screen: A collection of short stories, I came up with the idea of having a one-second video to express the idea of appreciation. The one-second shot would be a landscape scene and the credits would be about everything and everyone that has made the scene what it is at that moment.
This brings us to me actually googling about if this has been done before. I was hesitant to do any research on this for fear that it would affect how I approached this concept. Alas, if you want a good enough grade to go to film, you have to do research and show process so here we have the same method of a one-second film.
The idea is to make the World’s Biggest Shortest Film by inviting everyone to make a movie together. People all over the world are invited to donate a minimum amount of $1 to be a producer in the film. All profits of the film would then go to charity. in that one second of film, there will be 2 frames of 12 paintings. This makes up the 24 frames in one second. The credits will then play for one hour with a feature-length ‘making of’ documentary next to it. To me, this is a gimmick to garner attention, albeit for a good cause (probably).
It seems then, that my film would only be taking “inspiration” from the aforementioned film on the part that it is one second long with a long end credit.
Conceptually, the two films are quite different. While their film is about bringing people together to partake in this non-profit experiment, my film is about appreciation of things we take for granted. This can be in the form of the people who clean up the dead leaves on the ground every day or even the people who made the filming equipment. Unlike The 1 Second Film, my film will not be 1 hour long with a feature length documentary playing over it. Not having any video or image playing over or alongside the credits places focus on the credits themselves.The long length of the credits is meant to show appreciation for the people we take for granted.
While looking through the photos, I tried thinking about the narrative I wanted to convey.
At this point, the only information I had was the rough time period of each item and the materials used. I wanted to know the man who made the items. I called up my grandfather and had a long conversation. When he gets started, it’s hard to stop him.
I might not include this in the actual submission so I thought I’d add this in here. (Paraphrased for easy reading)
“Where did you find the seahorse and crab?”
“Back in the 1970s, I would spend my free time going to Changi beach in the evening to catch fishes. We used carbide lamps to help us see in the dark. You had to wait for the tide to go down before you went out look for the fishes. There were even sea snakes, sawsharks and catfishes. You don’t really see them nowadays with all the reclaimed land.
One time, I waded in the water and felt a sharp pain on the leg. At first I thought that it was a sea snake but once a sea snake bites you, it doesn’t let go. This sharp pain was short so it can’t have been that. I looked down and saw this huge catfish swimming away. What’s worse, the pain made me stumble. The lamp touched the water and stopped working. I couldn’t see the shore because the street lamps were blocked by trees. Thankfully, the wind came and blew the trees aside for me to see the shore. During the drive back, my leg was still numb from the pain. I had so much difficulty working the pedals. When I reached home, my roommate gave me some Chinese medicine and I felt much better.
During the 15th day of the lunar month, the king crab (horseshoe crab) would come to the shore in pairs. You can eat the eggs but you need to know how to remove them because if the bile gets onto the eggs then you’ll get mabok.”
For the past couple of days, I have been struggling with the seemingly impossible task of presenting qualia. I’ve sent an email to a company to get a quote on the prints but have not gotten back from them. I doubt that it will be affordable. Still, I was committed to the idea of using lenticular printing for project 1 to present qualia. At the back of my head though, I was thinking of coming up with a back up.
Cut to 27 August 2016, where I went to a hobby shop in Chinatown to get Balsa wood for Foundation 3D. The interior was filled with handcrafted helicopters hanging from the ceiling in this nook of a shop in the old and grey Fook Hai Building.
I approached the well-spoken old man running the shop for Balsa wood and got what I asked for before he went off to talk to another customer. The man’s wife approached me so I thought to ask how long they have been doing this. She told me that they have been running the shop since the 1960s and that her husband has always loved making crafts. That’s when all the dots were connected for me. The old man reminded me my grandfather and seeing how happy he was to be doing what he loved made me realise that I have been approaching this project completely wrong. Art does not have to be a struggle. It can be enjoyable and damn it all if I don’t enjoy doing this.
My grandfather loved making things. He’s been doing so since the 1970s. I want to showcase the things that he has done with him telling a story about why he made them during those times. I’m hoping to gain a deeper insight into the person that he was and the person he has become. In a way, this would be a follow up to his memoirs which I edited with friends last year for his birthday.
The abstract concept of consciousness has been puzzling me for the past couple of years ever since I watched the movie Waking Life. In it, a man slips in and out of lucid dreaming and experiences bizarre dreams filled with philosophical elements.
The movie title itself comes from a quote by George Santayana, ‘Sanity is madness put to good uses, waking life is a dream controlled.’
I wanted to be able to show that feeling of experiencing life as a dream. Upon further assessment, however, I realised that there was not much to that for me other than being able to express that. I wanted to go deeper.
While reading up on Consciousness, I chanced upon the word ‘Qualia‘. In Quining Qualia by Daniel Dennett, Qualia is defined as “the way things seems to us”. As an exaggerated example, how I am seeing the blue of the sky is different from how you are seeing the blue of the sky. I like to entertain the idea that Qualia is a defining aspect of consciousness; that without qualia, we are no different from robots.
While the existence of qualia is hotly debated in philosophy circles, I am not attempting to give my opinion on the matter. What I am truly interested in is the idea that everyone is experiencing entirely different things while physically going through the same thing; as per the example given. The problem that I have is that qualia is just what it is. We all experience something when we eat a fruit. we can label these experiences the same way; i.e. lemons taste ‘sour’. But we could be having different qualia; i.e. the sourness tastes different to us.
I thought about photoshopping an object to several different colours in different photos but that would be an oversimplification of qualia and completely uninspired.
Oh god, what have I gotten myself into.
With that in mind, I came up with potential ideas for Project 1:
Since it is impossible to show that we have different qualia based on the same ‘label’ (e.g. the colour ‘blue’), I want to present it in the complete opposite manner (although slightly simplified). Different fruits with the same taste (lemons, limes, grapefruits) – sour. The taste is the same but the medium of experiencing the taste is different. Conversely, for qualia, the medium is the same but the ‘taste’ is different, i.e. the medium is a lemon but what it is like to taste the lemon is different for each individual.
A series of colour-focused photographs that have the effect of changing in colour depending on the angle you see the photo – Lenticular printing. For example, a picture of the colour blue from straight on that turns to turquoise or teal when viewed from the side.