In a situation that comes up more often than you'd think, I needed an image of a bespectacled Asian girl to illustrate a point. So I keyed the phrase into Google Images and, one roundabout net.route later, landed on the blog of Edmund "Swifty" Yeo, a bespectacled Asian dude. So close, yet so far, right?
But he's not just any bespectacled Asian dude; he's a Malaysian-born, Australia-educated, Japan-based cinéaste, photographer and filmmaker responsible for a bunch of admirable shorts. His blog chronicles his travels around the Australasia-ish area and elsewhere, making his movies, working on others', attending film festivals, studying the craft at Tokyo's Waseda University and meeting more or less all the greatest living masters of Cinema. Evidently he studied marketing in Perth — there's an appealing combo — but took a post-graduate year in film. It doesn't seem like he's looking back.
One other quality that resonates is his being less than a year older than me, though that resonates in a way that just makes me tug at my collar. What's the term for a memento mori, except that it reminds you not that you're gonna die but that you're sittin' on your @$$ scrollin' blogs when someone else, who's logged roughly the same Earth-hours, is even now jetting around from Asakusa to Bratislava to Kuala Lumpur to the Pusan International Film Festival to Cannes, adapting Yasunari Kawabata stories and paying homage to Sans Soleil? "Memento @$$i?"I wouldn't care about any of this, of course, if Yeo's films weren't any good, but all signs point to them being really cool. Here's the introduction to his new short Kingyo, one of those Kawabata adaptations. I'm quite impressed by the results he gets with the split-screen visuals, which I believe run through the whole film:
This is the trailer for Fleeting Images, the (what simply must be a) Sans Soleil homage:
You can watch the full ten-minute movie on the site of the online film festival whose grand prize it won, although you've got to do the whole free-registration thing first. I'd say it's worth it.
My other favorite in the Yeo oeuvre is the thirteen-minute Love Suicides, which his blog implies that Brazil's Fluxus Film Festival will only be hosting on the net temporarily, so you'd better watch while that watchin's good.
In the Museum-of-First-Drafts spirit, you might consider Forced Labour, a flashy, unlit, camcorder-shot thug battle from Yeo's earliest filmmaking days. He seems to cringe today about its "amateurish" qualities, and I suppose it is pretty goofy, but there's a certain enthusiasm to it of which I can't help but approve:
What drives Edmund Yeo? One of his posts puts it in a way that, for whatever reason, rings strongly on my frequency:
"You know," I said to Maiko, Iyo and Ai while I was eating. "All these I'm doing, this dream I'm chasing, my determination to never give up, it's really about revenge."Here he is with Abbas Kiarostami:
I am a very resentful person. In the second last paragraph of my previous post, I mentioned that I usually fuel my motivation with this perverse pleasure of proving doubters wrong. These doubters could be real, could be imaginary. I just needed this sort of fire.
And that's why I'm such a resentful person, and so incapable of accepting mediocrity or conformity.
In conclusion, WHY IS THIS MY LIFE