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I am pretty sure there are other things in daily life I view that contribute to the molding of my coursework as well; whatever I view and think of will have an impact. (I think my coursework ideas basically all came from bus trips and sleepless nights.) However, the impact ML made was exceptionally deep and exceptionally good, so I’m going to specifically point it out. 

2007 Festival du Court Métrage
Clermont-Ferrand Grand Prix Prize
*Monkeylove (Royston Tan/Jpn, Sg/2005/Fiction/09’00/Beta SP)

In the winter landscape of Hokkaido, a guy in a monkey suit is searching for lost love. A meditation on life and art, love and longing, “Monkey Love” is lyrical, enigmatic, pensive, whimsical and spare – like a haiku.

After watching monkey love, I felt like my vision field was pulled apart by a couple of inches because it was a very different piece of work. It was a drama, about things that are lost, the search for those things, and love. Normal drama (esp Korean!)about loves are very, dramatic, mostly involving love triangles, weepy female leads and dashing male leads. Taiwanese dramas, mostly idol dramas also mostly deal about love/relationships, and the whole drama appears very ‘cutesy’ and funny, which serves the purpose, as it is meant to be entertaining and allows the idols to capture the audience’s attention.

ML dealed with the concept of love in a very different method, and it was very touching. Not because of the painful relationship between the male and female lead, but because of the essence of the human spirit presented. It was touching, while being soothing and warming at the same time. Having a man play a monkey, by dressing him up in a bright red monkey suit while running through a large white field was very visually impactful. Also, viewers cannot help but feel pity for the monkey prancing around in the stone cold environment; this subtle evocation of emotions.

The interesting contrasts (achieved by frequent cuts) between what the viewers saw, and what the camera crew was experiencing also helped to add a sense of ‘reality’ to the film. People are more conscious of what they view, they can treat it as a piece of reality, despite the outrageous characters, and confusing dialogues.

The ending added a new character to the film, a rabbit, which turns out to be the main interest of the monkey evokes much sense in the film. The rush of ‘sense’ which suddenly comes to the viewer was what was missing from the film.

What inspired me was the ability of royston tan to create so much emotion and sense out of footages that are so simple, quiet and passive. The film does not shout or scream; it skillfully plants these ideas and emotions in people. Thus, viewers are not restrained to have one interpretation of the film, and different audiences will have different reactions to the film. Viewers can ‘complete’ and add to the film in their own way, which makes the viewing of the film rather personal as well. I really liked the ambience the film evokes, and the emotions it placed in me. I wanted to create something as emotional and as subtle. The enigmatic approach to storytelling was also very appealing to me, and I hope my viewers will also feel the freedom to imagine and somewhat ‘digress’ from the film in their thoughts, to think of other events in their life. This kind of, emotional attachment, i guess, is what I think artwork should have. That, people can all relate to one piece differently, and they like it because it draws emotions in them.

On a side note, I was rather impressed by what Royston Tan did. I mean if you compare it to 881, 12 lotus, I assumed that he films quite a bit of retro and old stuff, all those catonese/hokkien-i-dunno-what culture stuff, which was quite distant to me, and quite Singaporean. He just looked like a very 怀旧 guy, which i guess is quite true, after looking at another film he made, called Old Places. He made singapore look so pretty! It was another film that was rather simplistic, consisting of footages of these old singaporean places, and audio consisting of interview of singaporeans, telling their stories related to these places. The film mainly showed these places, and not much other than that was happening, but it wasn’t a bit boring. And although I do not have much memories relating to such places, I was still captivated by it. It was very serene to watch and I highly reccomned whoever is reading this to watch it. Don’t judge it before you watch it! After watching it, I was like, hmmm, singapore is quite a cool place. …

the trailer is 6.42% similar to what the actual thing is like

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