by Marc Saint-Cyr
Fresh from doing a whole lot of traveling to various film festivals to promote his recent short films “Inhalation” and “Exhalation” as well as Woo Ming Jin’s feature “The Tiger Factory,” on which he served as co-writer, producer and editor, Edmund Yeo has begun work on a fresh short film. Thus far, the Malaysian-born, Tokyo-based filmmaker has built up a rich and highly accomplished body of work that, along with the above-mentioned films, includes the shorts “The White Flower” (2010), “Kingyo” (2009), “Love Suicides” (2009) and “Chicken Rice Mystery” (2008). Displaying a real gift for stunning images, cinematic experimentation and deep character studies, Yeo has become a figure of keen interest to us here at the Pow-Wow.
Now there is a brand new Yeo short to start getting excited about. His latest project, “Last Fragments of Winter,” has begun production, and is planned to consist of sequences shot in both Japan and Malaysia, with two Japanese sequences serving as bookends. Yeo was inspired to make the film after discovering a short story by Japanese author Mieko Kanai in a bookshop in the Roppongi area of Tokyo. Among the details about the production that Yeo recently posted on his blog Swifty, Writing is an intriguing key prop: an old Mamiya RB67 camera. It will be wielded in the film by Arisa Koike, a young actress and high school student.
Yeo has said he anticipates “Last Fragments” will be his most meticulously prepared film since 2009’s “Kingyo.” Ever the knowledgeable film buff, Yeo looked to Andrei Tarkovsky for inspiration when he made “Exhalation.” For this new film, he is seeking out the work of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, who is known for such visually powerful works as “The Double Life of Véronique” (1991) and the “Three Colors” trilogy (1993-94).
Yeo and his crew have actually already concluded principal photography for the film’s Japan segment, which was shot in the Shirakawa village in the mountainous Gifu Prefecture. The fruits of their efforts include some production stills, shown here exclusively, depicting Ms. Koike exploring the historic area. If the pictures’ quality is any indication, viewers should be in for a real treat when they finally get a chance to see the completed film.
“Last Fragments of Winter” is being executive produced by Kohei Ando and produced by Yuiko Kato (Japan), Woo Ming Jin and Fei Ling (Malaysia).