**UPDATE** Here's how you can purchase the Summer Afternoon DVD, which is only available in Taiwan. Just send an email to: email@example.com.
Two girls and a guy on a road trip through the countryside. Two are lovers and one is a nuisance. As they say, two's company and three's a crowd, and that's how trouble starts.
Ho Wi Ding, the Malaysian filmmaker based in Taiwan, first came to our attention by winning in Cannes 2006 with his short film, Respire, an affecting tone poem about the last days in the life of a young girl in a virus-infected, post-apocalyptic world. This year, he went to Cannes again with Summer Afternoon, the only Asian short film in the line-up.
And what a film it is.
More info after the break.
Summer Afternoon is a 15-minute short comprising long, single takes, and is shot in black-and-white. It starts off as an innocent road movie with three friends arguing and having a little friction between them. Then things take a shocking turn when a prank goes too far. Ho himself seems to be playing a prank on his audience, as the final scene is sure to make anyone do a double-take. I know I did.
Summer Afternoon is quite a technical feat, with cinematographer Jake Pollock's Steadicam seemingly having a life of its own. It follows a moving car, circles the characters, cranes up, floats down, getting the audience completely involved in the scenario unravelling on a lonely country road. But Ho's most effective sleight-of-hand is in making the long, single takes completely unnoticeable. But when you do notice them later, you also realise how many "How the hell did they do it" moments there are in the film.
The DVD is available now in Taiwan. But worry not, the film is making its rounds around the globe; it's going to Pusan, Vancouver and the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival.
Meanwhile, it will be screened at the Palm Springs International Shortfest in the Travelling Blind programme, on Aug 26, 5pm at the Camelot Theatre. Click the link below for more information.
Don't miss the film! I'm serious!