Digital Short Films by Three Filmmakers
- Producer: Tcha Seong-jai
Source: SIDUS, Jeonju International Film Festival
(SIDUS) 88, Samsung Dong, Kang Namgu, Seoul KOREA
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In April 2000, the First Jeonju International Film Festival was launched in South Korea under new era themes of “digital” and “radical.” The Festival decided to produce and present three short films made on digital video and directed by three world-class filmmakers each year. The filmmakers were given three conditions: to make a film in digital format, around 30 minutes, and working within a limited production budget.
In 2000, the first omnibus film of three parts was completed. Entitled N, it represented Next Generation, New Technology, and Networking. The three parts are: experienced Korean director Park Kwang-su’s www.whitelover.com, Korean experimental filmmaker Kim Yun-tae’s Dal Segno, and representative of the Chinese sixth generation cinema Zhang Yuan’s Jin Xing Files. At YIDFF 2001, we are pleased to present the 2001 production of JIFF’s Digital Short Films by Three Filmmakers, in which a new cinematic aesthetic and functionality of digital image-making is reflected.
CHINA / 2001 / Chinese / Color / Video / 32 min
Director, Editor: Jia Zhangke
Photography: Yu Lik-wai, Jia Zhangke
Sound: Lin Yi
A small mining town in Shanxi, Datong is in danger of being abandoned. Typical of towns all over China, the wave of capitalism has brought pleasure centers such as saunas and karaoke and public places like bus stations and public phone booths.
The camera observes a deserted train station, where a man in a military overcoat wanders about. When a train arrives, a woman and a heavy bag of flour appear on the platform. At a bus station, an old man puts all his efforts into zipping his coat. A young woman misses her bus.
At the entrance of a dance hall, a gangster sits outside looking at the girls going by. The music is on, but the mood is not light.
[Jia Zhangke] “For 45 days, I wanted to put on record the everyday life of Datong people who gathered into places of consumption, or public spaces. I am sure that digital video can do that better than any other medium.”
Born in 1970 in Fenyang, a small town of Shanxi Province, China. Graduated from the Beijing Film Academy. Feature film debut Xiao Wu (1997) was one of the most acclaimed Asian films of 1997. Second feature Platform (2000) won the Grand-Prix and the Judges’ Special Prize at the Festival of Three Continents in Nantes last year.
UK / 2001 / English / Color , B&W / Video / 30 min
Director: John Akomfrah
Photography: Dewald Aukema
Editor: Lisa Hatney
Cast: Truman Penfold
Producers: David Lawson, Lisa Gopaul
A black urban professional man lives between analogue and digital worlds—he lives in the former, hoping for a relationship, but seeks his sexual pleasures in the latter, through the internet and over the phone.
[John Akomfrah] “Lately I have been obsessed with trying to understand what I call a living-with-the-digital. For me this has not been about understanding the digital as a thing to come, a harbinger of good or ill but more about how we inhabit digital worlds in the here and now. Specifically I have been concerned with how the digital might be insinuating itself into the gaps and nodes in the ecology of our familiar, into our received sense of time and our shared understanding of space.”
Born in 1957 in London. Internationally acclaimed for his digital films. Riot (1999) won the Grand-Prix at the first JIFF. Member of the Black Audio Film Collective, organized in 1982 to produce experimental and engagement movies. Especially interested in issues of anti-racial discrimination. Filmography includes Handsworth Songs (1986), Testament (1988), Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), Martin Luther King: Days of Hope (1997).
A Conversation with God
TAIWAN / 2001 / Chinese / Color / Video / 30 min
Director, Photography: Tsai Ming-liang
Editor: Lei Cheng-ching
Sound: Zhou Cheng, Chao Yuon-fang
The original subject intended for this film was a spiritual medium who was unbelievably accurate. Tsai Ming-liang jumped on his 50cc motorbike, equipped with a DV camera ready to shoot her, to see whether the god would speak to his camera. But on the way, he was caught in a traffic jam of people gathered at another god’s festival. A man in a trance, flashy karaoke girls on stage, a power black-out. During his diversion, the camera discovers fish and underground passages.
[Tsai Ming-liang] “I decided to use the most basic and simple way of filming. This changed the way I saw things. Filming the underground passage, I didn’t consider it to be filming but rather using the camera as my eyes.”
Born in 1957 in Kuching, Malaysia. Master director of Taiwan’s New Wave Cinema. Moved to Taiwan to study film in 1977, and studied at the Drama and Cinema Department of the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. After graduation, spent ten years writing screenplays for television dramas. Filmography includes Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Viva L’amour (1994), The River (1997), The Hole (1998).