Archive for December, 2005

Meeting Miyazaki Hayao

Posted By yonghow on December 29th, 2005

Today, the 29th of December, 2005 will go down in my personal history as the day where I, an infinitesimal and paltry existence on this planet, meets Miyazaki Hayao, world renowned animator and master of the Ghibli Universe. No, I didn’t see him at a premiere for a new animation film; nor was it at a press conference or anything of this loud, official nature; I met him while he was on his way to work ( at Ghibli Studios in Musashi Koganei, not far from where I live ), driving pass my bicycle as I stopped at a junction, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a cigarette, the smoke trailing from his vintage car as he drove away. I stood flabbergasted for a long time, anticipating Totoros to trod along too, but they did, in a way I guess, in the spirit of their brilliant creator.

Tokyo cityscape

Posted By yonghow on December 25th, 2005

Tokyo’s metropolitan landscape stretches as far as the eye can see from Ebisu’s Garden Place, as breathtaking as it is dizzying. Taking the elevator up to the top viewing levels I almost felt like a character playing in Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira as I gazed upon this colossal, hulking entity, the hectic home to 12 million denizens.

Posted in Japan, Photography
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Nikon D70

Posted By yonghow on December 22nd, 2005

Winter holidays are here and I’ve taken this opportune moment while taking a short breather from school to indulge in a little creative pleasure; taking s**tloads of photographs with my newly acquired, long overdue and hitherto much desire(d) Nikon digital SLR D70s. I’m loving every second of it; the handling and feel of the camera, the expanded creative options I have ( check it : ISOs from 200 to 1500 at the flick of a switch ), and I’ve barely even started. Now before any film purist lambast me as been unfaithful to the medium, no, I’m not a digital convert; I still love my good old Nikon FE10 and the romantic look of film; but the wise auteur utilizes all tools available to him so as to advance his level of work; not that I’m claiming to be one.

Here’s to many more happy and rewarding shooting days. :]


Dusk near home in Tanashi, West Tokyo.

Posted in Life, Photography
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Toho Video Festival 2005

Posted By yonghow on December 8th, 2005

Its a memorable day at this year’s Toho Video Festival (TVF), a film festival with works from all the different faculties of my film school. Chosen from a hundred pieces of film submission by a panel of judges, notably Yukisada Isao ( director of Shouting Out Love, ), my short film Robot Dreams ( a renaissance piece built from a culmination of unfinished work including Memento Mori, Do Robots Dream and recently shot video footage. ) managed to enter the grand finals, one of the top 10 films screened today at the festival vying for the grand prize of a Apple G5 FCP editing suite worth about 5K. Regrettably, I eventually lost out to my classmate from Shanghai ( we were the only two year one students in the top ten; the rest were graduation students ), whose impressive CG piece created to the likeness of Chinese watercolour paintings awed the judges, and deservedly won the best film award. Well, better luck next year with my graduation work ! :]

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Millenium Mambo

Posted By yonghow on December 4th, 2005

The initial impression upon watching Hou Hsiao Hsien’s Millenium Mambo, ( especially the first scene where we have Hsu Chi strolling down this bridge as the camera follows behind her, shot perhaps on a 48 or 60 framer ), was how much it reminded me of the splendid Korean film Take Care of My Cat. 2 things : 1) The dreamy and carefree, immediately memorable music ( I liken it to the pleasurable feeling of intoxication, without any of the nasty side effects )that give both films their characteristic mood, and 2) each fall into that risky category of cinema where there is no clearly established plotline; nothing important seem to be happening most of the time onscreen; there is no apparent premise or conclusion, and in the case of Mambo the potential bore factor skyrockets because the photographer is Lee Pingbin, who loves to lock down his camera and shoot empty compositions where the actors are completely out of frame. 3 other directors who have an affinity for this form of narrative comes to mind : Hu Jinho, Tsai Mingliang, and Robert Altman.

I cannot better explain their style of storytelling by this saying : The journey is the destination. Next stop, Hou Hsiao Hsien’s latest film Zhu Hao De Shi Guang ( Three Times ).

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