Every Thursday is movie night at Vienna Cafe, a cozy outfit in the French Concession that serves Austrian sweets and dishes. For the next 4 weeks, they will screen films from indie Chinese film-makers, last night’s being the first in the instalment. I’ve always enjoyed indie Chinese films after watching a few which the University of San Diego brought to The Arts House in Singapore late 2008. The University has the world’s largest collection of indie Chinese films, many have been banned in their home country itself. These films are incredibly powerful, provocative and truthful about the ugly side of rising world superpower China. Of course, I did not expect to see the same controversial films at last night’s screening, but it would be an evening of fun with friends anyway despite a work deadline today, hehe.
I met up with my Polish friend again after his month-long excursion to Hong Kong and Macau, and his new host, a lovely Japanese lady who spoke perfect English. Okay, that would be Piotr and Risa (I think that’s how it’s spelt). Piotr is an indie film, music and art enthusiast (and he writes about them) so no doubt, he had known about this event before me and was definitely smarter than me to make a reservation because the house was full last night.
The film last night was a collection of footages from the director’s youthful and experimental days in college. We were forewarned that it was not the best film of the four, and would be challenging for Hollywood-trained eyes (haha, I really like this description).
It was a shocker too. We were told there would be two naked scenes at the start and the end of the film. The film began with the top-naked director jamming with his buddies. I was almost disappointed. Where’s the nakedness? (someone used to tease me all the time how much I resisted discussions on nakedness, but oh well, that’s an entirely different discussion) The film ended with the director and his buddies too, plus his girlfriend, all of whom fully naked. Full frontal shots. The crazy experimental things that one would do in his/her youth, and never losing that youthfulness, show it to an unsuspecting public.
But I guess none of us expected just how haphazard the film really was; the edit was a mess, honestly, even though some of the clips were very interesting, funny and nostalgic. There was no continuity whatsoever, and seemingly no storyline. Seemingly.
But if one cares to sit through the end (many left during the course), one single message pops up loud and clear – as we’re so busy caching our lives with the convenience of digital devices and the Internet, where lies the real meaning of life? Do those moments not captured for eternity on cameras, film, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, have less meaning than those that do? Are they more meaningful because they’re only there in your memory and not anywhere else? What are missing in the real life as we try to capture “meaningful” moments with our digital contraptions? Oh, the other thing which was delightful too was the director beared the same surname as me. It’s not a common surname, so I was quite pleased for some bizarre reason.
Well, dinner certainly was rather … mmm … not too meaningful (or was it?). I looked through the menu which was chock full of sweets but being one without a sweet tooth, I picked Item 69 because it looked like the symbol for Pisces, and it had a name that went Ksakslsdkdivgjfghndhskdklfg (okay, I had no clue how to pronounce that word looking at it on the menu, and certainly can never remember how to spell it). When it came, it smelled heavenly. But it was way too heavy duty even for me, the perennial cheese lover.
Okay, despite not being a huge fan of sweets, chocolates and honey do agree with me. In an attempt to eat healthily after last week’s Chinese New Year binge, this was lunch today: an eclectic mashed goodness of yoghurt, apple and heaps of honey! Phoar! Panda sure loves it! SWEEEETAAAA v(^___^)v