Friday, January 23, 2009

Edmund Yeo reworks Yasunari Kawabata in his latest short film "Kingyo"

by Chris MaGee

Doing the rounds while reporting on news of the Japanese film industry you tend to bump into the same people again and again. One of those people is Edmund Yeo. The Malaysian-born, Tokyo-based 24-year-old is constantly reporting news and views on Japanese and Asian cinema at his site Swiftly Writing, but Yeo isn't just a blogger with a love for film. He is also a successful filmmaker in his own right with five short films under his belt, one of which, 2008's "Chicken Rice Mystery" garnered him an Honorable Mention and it's star Kimmy Kiew a Best Acting Award at the 2008 BMW Shorties in Kuala Lumpur. Soon Yeo will be adding a sixth film to his growing body of work.

"Kingyo" is a 30-minute short that Yeo has literally just wrapped shooting on and he's posted a gallery of gorgeous looking stills from it here. Starring Rukino Fujisaki (Hellevator: Bottled Fools), Amane Kudo (Babel, The Ramen Girl) and performance artist Takao Kawaguchi "Kingyo" is a modern-day reworking of the spare but heartbreaking 1924 short story "Canaries" written by one of the masters of the form, Yasunari Kawabata. In the original story a man must give up a pair of canaries that were a gift from his former mistress. His wife was the one took care of the birds, but after her death the man must give up these last reminders of his old lover. In updating the story Yeo has replaced the canaries with a pair of goldfish and set the love triangle in an Akihabara maid café, but the universal human drama remains intact. This isn't the first time that Yeo has taken on Kawabata's work either. His 2008 short "Love Suicides" is also a loose adaptation of one of the author's stories.

Sadly there's no trailer or clips from "Kingyo" yet, but we'll keep you updated as soon as Yeo cuts something together. Until then check out the video sampler not only of the films that Yeo has directed and edited himself, but also films that he has produced for fellow Malaysian filmmaker Woo Ming Jin.

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