Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
Tropical malaise is dramatised with dry absurdist wit and a wicked eye for the surreal in Woo Ming Jin’s absorbing, virtually wordless drama. Woo’s style, heightened by the composed grace of the camera work, is fascinated detachment. Gorgeously shot on Malaysia’s west coast, where the luxuriant greenery belies the toughness of village life, the film unfolds in an ominous, end-of-days atmosphere. An unnamed plague has descended on fish, animals and a few unfortunate people. We observe, and are gradually inducted into, the survival strategies of two solitary men, both of them clearly at a loose end materially and spiritually – one’s a fisherman who’s lost his wife in the epidemic, the other a teen drifting from petty con jobs into deeper waters. — BG.
“Brilliant… the work of a striking new voice on the East Asian film scene… As a total cinematic creation from the fledgling Malaysian movement, Elephant marks a big stride forward.“ — Robert Koehler, Variety