A Long Time Ago

I made Goldfish. It was my first short film, and it is in Mandarin, of all the languages. It starred some of my juniors, with the likes of Eddie, Max, Mindy and Jer Huan all being one or two years behind me at university.

It also featured the skills of some of my peers, like Wilson, who, as a producer, made it so easy for me. There was no need for me to worry about getting permission to shoot on location at university, since he already organised it for me. Need someone to hold the mic? No problems there, Wilson Lee to the rescue!

I mention their names, and they were only a part of a greater group that brought the idea to life. And I mention this now, almost two years on from the production, because in my humble opinion...it is not a very good film.

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of it. Proud of what we had achieved within that particular period of time. The clock was ticking, mind you: exams and assignments were on the horizon, and the personal situations of some wasn't the best. Then again, I suppose things like that could always be better, but that would be another story. But pride was what I felt when we first screened it at university. It is what I still feel about the film.

I write of this now because recently, I saw it again. Dina wanted to watch the videos that I had made, and Goldfish was high on the list. It is, after all, the movie that got me a ticket to Korea in the first place. It was probably a year since the last time I popped the disc marked 'Goldfish DVD' into my laptop. The thing with me is, my head is constantly buzzing with ideas. Short film ideas. Feature film ideas. Potential music videos. Possible documentary concepts. They're always there, somewhere in the back of my mind, continuously playing on repeat until I apply the cure i.e. Go out and get it shot, edited, shown.

Hardly time nor occasion, then, to be looking back on the films that I did. Wondered how long it's been since Spielberg last saw Jaws.

So I saw it again with Dina recently. Having gone on record as saying that it is a terrible film, seeing it again evoked a different train of thought. Watching it again, listening to the dialogue (as if I understand it) and letting Bei Yan and Eddie's score get to me was...magic. Reading the subtitles to my own movie, I am even willing to change and say that it's not...all that bad. People have said to me that they liked it, and that it is a good short film. I never did truly believe that, since most of the people who have seen it were my friends.

Watching it again that day, on my laptop at Coffee Bean in Mont Kiara, with Dina on hand, it left me feeling that perhaps they're not all that wrong.

Better late than never.


Anonymous said…
lol fikri, been a fan of Cheesy Studio, since... er, a month ago? when i know of it's existant that is. (yup, sposed to be your junior junior juniors?) And YES, you ARE old.

watched a few films made in Cheesy studios listed by you. really original i can say... Kinda inspiring~

Anyway, there's something that's been swimming in my empty head.. stayed up a couple of days and nights wondering (ok, a lil' too dramatic here) tryin to find the answers to my questions... You know, since i'm not that deep nor am i born with an IQ of 300, i'm just wondering...

What does your short clip, Goldfish means??

MY said it meant nothing? maybe he was just trying to stop me from bothering him or something..

imo, is it about the friendship in the fish at the end of the story?

and no offense but it kinda looked a little too intimate between 2 friends at the end of the story.. like.. Too close...

well, other than that, you found a really cute korean actor! really smooth complexion!! urrghh...

lol, just wish to know more so that i can understand more about short films. This field is very new to me...

p/s: dun really wanna categorize myself as the anonymous writer but i dont have a blog nor a google account.
lee wei said…
Y'know, I still haven't watched that one.
Fikri said…
To Anon: Goldfish actually refers to the film concept itself. In making this movie, I had wanted to externalise the emotions that people feel inside. Anger, jealousy, and the like. As it turns out, it is not the conventional short film way of storytelling. A fair amount is meant to be shown, rather than told. Having said that, though I didn't do that with this film, I achieved precisely what I had wanted to begin with.

And getting to the title, it refers to the existence of a goldfish inside a bowl. There's a phrase, like living in a goldfish bowl, which means that you have nowhere to run and hide. Everything is exposed to the outside world, which is what this movie is about.

But at the same time, I think you're slightly confused with my other short film, My Father's Son, the one shot in Korea. In this particular instance, what I had wanted was to initially put in the goldfish as a slight reference to the Goldfish short film that I did. At the same time, I wanted to use it as a marker that brings the film full circle. It appears somewhere in the middle, during the phone conversation, and it appears again at the end. There's also a Koreanness that I wanted to put in, since the goldfish cakes are very popular in Korea. It has red bean paste on the inside. Hot off the stove, it's delicious.

On another, more accidental note, in Korea there's an old saying that likens the father and son relationship to a goldfish. I wasn't aware of it before, and I still don't know what the exact phrase is, but all the same, it helped to add to the credibility of the goldfish and the movie itself.

And yes, the Korean actor, Dae Ho, is quite good looking. Having said that, the actor playing Ali is not that bad himself ;> Thanks for dropping by. Hope this helps.

To Temme: If you mean Goldfish, it was shown recently at Filmmakers Anonymous. I'll sort you out with a copy when I'm back from Kelantan. I think I said it before, but I keep forgetting. Apologies.