Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Memories Of The Year That Was

The end is the beginning is the end. The strength of our memories is dependent on the effect or impact each event had on us. This past year was probably the most eventful for me for many personal reasons. But of the things I saw, heard or read, or experienced, none had greater impact on me, no memories of which stronger, than these:

Going to Berlin
My first ever trip to a major international film festival turned out to be to the second most important festival in the world - the Berlinale. This entailed dressing up in a suit and attending the opening ceremony and film, getting my mug flashed across some TV screens in Germany without me knowing it, and learning the ropes of getting things done at a big festival. And bumping into Park Chan-wook on the streets of Berlin more than once!

Reading No Country For Old Men
Cormac McCarthy's novel was so engaging for me that I immediately lent it to a friend and asked that he read it quick. Vivid imagery of the landscapes, the thrill of the chase and the action, it's all no-frills crime drama written in McCarthy's idiosyncratic style. Can't wait for the film.

Watching Mukhsin in Berlin
I admit, my heart swelled with pride seeing great Malaysian cinema on a huge screen in a foreign country and hearing such positive responses from the audience. From that moment, I just knew it was going to win something at the festival.

Atonement, Mad Detective and Love And Honour
Atonement was one film that completely surprised me this year, and left me so affected that I just had to call it a brilliant film even if I don't really like the first half of it. Mad Detective is just so damn enjoyable and one of the best films this year and one of the best in Johnnie To's career. Love And Honour is simply one of the most moving, elegant films I've seen.

Stalking Tsai Ming-liang
I was the shameless fan who attended almost every screening and talk that he gave leading up to the release of I Don't Want To Sleep Alone in KL. Then it was the wonderful surprise of receiving the DVD from a friend in Canada. I'll get it signed when I next meet Tsai.

Discovering YesAsia
Free shipping for orders above US$25, and short delivery time. I can only ask myself, what took me so long?!

Edward Yang, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni
Three too many this year, and a shocker when Bergman and Antonioni died within hours of each other. I thought the text messages I got were pranks.

Making my first short film
In January, a few friends and I embarked on an adventure that took us to two different locations miles apart, shooting a short film in just six hours. For me, it was an abject lesson in humility. Things rarely go as planned on a film shoot. It was agreat experience.

Writing two episodes of a TV series
It was a mixed experience. On the one hand, it's nice to see your story visualised and acted out, but on the other hand, there's the frustration of needless changes made to your script. That's TV for you. But it's still nice to see your name in the credits.

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