Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The Elephant and the Sea 2007

Directed by Woo Ming-Jin

Malaise in the tropics is dramatised with dry absurdist wit and wicked eye for the surreal in this gorgeously shot drama from Malaysia. "Brilliant." — Variety

Malaysia In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles
100 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Screenplay


Chan Hai Liang


Kok Kai Foong


Ronnie Khoo


Berg Lee Seng Wan
Cheong Wai Loon
Chung Kok Keung
Ng Meng Hui


Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary, Vancouver 2007

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