The film Their Remaining Journey by John Clang served as the curtain raiser for the second edition of Painting with Light: Festival of International Films on Art. The art and film fest held at the National Gallery Singapore is now on until 28 October 2018.
Opening the festival is indeed impressive for Clang, especially considering that Their Remaining Journey marks his feature film debut. But the film has already gained recognition for its visuals and its unique story. Their Remaining Journey delves deeper into the helplessness and anxiety of being trapped in between states, which undoubtedly triggers thoughts on communities in transition as it takes its viewer through the experiences of the various protagonists.
The film by John Clang is one of the 30 international films that will be screened at Painting with Light. In this exclusive interview, the filmmaker reveals more about Their Remaining Journey and his thoughts on the film festival.
[Q]How does it feel having ‘Their Remaining Journey’ opening the festival?
[A] I was already very honoured to have my film chosen to be screened at National Gallery forPainting with Light. To have this film opens the festival means a lot to me in many levels.Most importantly, I am very grateful for this opportunity to have such a quiet and subtlefilm being put in the limelight, lending further exposure for the cast involved, who are non-actors/non-actresses. This will be an experience they will remember for a very long time.
This is your feature film debut, how was the experience personally for you?
I treat this like another art project that I work on except that this is very taxing on me bothemotionally and financially. It is especially so when I decided to do things theunconventional way, knowing that it will be deemed as a very elusive kind of film. I know why I need to do this film. Therefore, I have to simply do it without thinking aboutthe audience. The whole experience for such process is a very strenuous one but it is alsovery rewarding when I realize that I have been truthful to myself.
Their Remaining Journey has a big supernatural element, why did you choose to go this route?
This comes from personal experience whereby I had spent two years of my life with afemale ghost. To me, it is not actually supernatural. It is just another perspective to look atour own mortality.I make film that isn’t plot driven. It is a slow-burning film that focuses on observation. Ibelieve if we can make our pace in life slower than everyone else, we start to ‘see’.
Are you pleased with the reception the film has gotten in screenings across the globe?
This is a very niche and challenging film from an unknown director and thus it has very littlescreenings across the globe now. However, I do think that if I continue doing what I believein, based on the positive reviews I got from some cineastes and critical film reviewers, thisfilm will gain its momentum and prominence as time passes.I am doing this for the long run, since it was never an intention for a typical theatricalrelease. Screening it at National Gallery Singapore is the perfect fit.
Besides your film, are there any other films that you’ll be excited to catch at the festival?
I am very excited to watch The Seen and Unseen by Kamila Andini, Arcadia by Paul Wright,the short film, Dahdi by Kirsten Tan and In Jackson Heights by Frederick Wiseman.Pauline Soh has curated a great selection of films for this festival. Most of the films are noteasy or possible to be found on our cinemas. It will be a very different and rewardingexperience for the audience.
Painting with Light: Festival of International Films of Art 2018 at the National Gallery Singapore will be held from 5-28 October. For a complete list of screening times and information, visit nationalgallery.sg/paintingwithlight.