Since 2009, the filmmaker has spent 12 years documenting the ever-changing times of three townships along the coast of Tainan County, namely Beimen, Jiangjun and Qigu. Through the lenses, human activities are seen closely connected with the surrounding nature, while maintaining its own charm. The film subtly captures a singular way of life and a sense of time suspended in the past, present and future.
As a part of a discussion on memory and detemporality, this work comes in another 3-channel video installation as further dialogue with this single-channel video.
Resisting the westernised reliance on images for creating narratives and experiencing the world, the film turns to music and sound as a way of perceiving through listening. While observing the loss of land and traditional ways of living, this aurally centred film reflects on the past, present and future of indigenous cultures of the people in Vietnam's Central Highlands.
Somi and her husband are striving to build a new life after fighting for a decade alongside the Naxalites, a Maoist guerrilla group from India. In the aftermath of surrendering to the police, the couple is struggling to safeguard their children's future through education. But the central government, they once fought against, seems to deny them a future and redemption.
More than a million South Koreans died during the Korean War and the full extent of the atrocities committed during the war remains unknown to this day. In 2005, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) uncovered 168 massacres, but by 2010, the commission was shut down. Haunted by the unsolved murders, these former investigators and the bereaved families restarted a project at various areas to uncover the truth on their own.
One risked rushing against raging waves to escape being involved in the Cultural Revolution; one resisted colonialism and was imprisoned due to participating in printing patriotic periodicals; one supported the students' demands for freedom, only to see their dreams and bodies crushed by tank treads. The past is presented in fictional scenes, with today's activists playing those of yesteryear, as their scarred memories and experiences become more tangled than ever.
The district of Yarmouk in Syria sheltered the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in the world from 1957 to 2018. When the Syrian revolution broke out, the regime saw Yarmouk as a refuge of rebels and has set up a siege since 2013. Gradually deprived of food, medicine and electricity, the besieged inhabitants decided to face the siege with rallying, study, music, love and joy.
In the town where the filmmaker was born, he and his family are following an age-old tradition by building a tomb for his grandparents. This carefully composed portrait of a village, interspersed with scenes of people at work, personal memories, and philosophical reflections, gradually unveils the spiritual world of the hometown and offers a meditation on existence itself.
Why do we see certain colours even when they aren't there? The filmmaker meticulously analyzes the one hundred CNY bill, which carries a portrait of MAO Zedong, and finds that – despite official representations and general perception – the banknote is pink rather than red. In a serious tone and colourful images, she also casually challenges entrenched notions about digitalization, globalisation, capitalism and gender.
In 2020, when the world was forced to 'change', I wanted to confirm what had changed and what hadn't in me. The white mask I wore became the screen projecting my past. My family members sometimes suffer a lot, but support me nevertheless when I experience schizophrenia. We live today to the fullest while continuously looking for the answer to 'who we are'.
In the 1990s, about 2,000 Turkish Kurdish refugees settled in a suburb of Tokyo; however, up until today, most of them are still illegal immigrants. Ozan has been working illegally as a construction worker, and is anxious about his uncertain future. Mehmet spent 520 days in detention for no apparent reason while suffering from a critical health condition without medical aid. Ramazan has been trying various ways to obtain a visa but his illegal immigrant status has kept him from his dream.
Light and shadow interweave into diverse culturescapes. They are together and apart, in war and in peace, intimate but also alienated. Whilst you stand on the viewpoint of an island, don't forget to cast a caring eye on the lesser known territories (including the extraterrestrial!). Ideas of Asia and Asian perspectives gradually emerge amongst the 761 submissions this year, and each of the 15 selected titles shines like a hidden gem.