|Against This Messy World
|AW See Wee
|AW See Wee
|Sean Shao Chi YAP
|YII Kah Hoe
|Year of Production
|VDP Selection Year
|Mandarin, English, Malay
“Against this Messy World” is a deeply introspective and visually captivating short documentary that delves into the heart and soul of artistic expression within Malaysia’s complex political and societal landscape. A personal exploration, narrated by Malaysian artists, this documentary takes viewers on an evocative journey to understand the essence and purpose of being an artist in a world marked by chaos and uncertainty and piece together conversations and unfiltered moments in their lives.
Aw See Wee
Aw See Wee was born into a ceramic making family in Malaysia. He studied filmmaking at the National Taiwan University of Arts. His film works mostly focus on human relationships as well as social phenomenon. Former works has been screened at festivals such as Camerimage, FAJR Film Festival, Cinema-Verite, Clermont-Ferrand, Busan (BISFF), and Oaxaca Filmfest. By exploring different ways of storytelling, See Wee is currently developing a fiction feature film as well as documentaries and animation. Aside from directing See Wee is also involved in many projects in location sound, sound design & cinematography that have helped him to experience more and improve on his visual and audio storytelling skills. He was also the guest lecturer at the New Era University College and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).
Rina B. Tsou
Rina B. Tsou is a Filipina-Taiwanese filmmaker who graduated from the Motion Picture Department of National Taiwan University of Arts. Having spent her life first in Manila, then in Taipei, and now in Kuala Lumpur, a multiracial and multilingual journey of homes has immersed her in east and south-east Asian cultures. This upbringing has helped her develop visions towards her film creations and deep empathy toward migrant welfare and human rights. These she has applied to issues raised in her films, showcased in international festivals such as Cannes, Busan (BIFF), MoMa Doc Fortnight, and the acclaimed Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she is currently working on both fiction and documentary films, exploring possibilities of different narratives. Rina also devotes herself to social work and movements engaged in migrant issues; from regular visits caring for stateless children in Taiwan; to talks and community exchanges; to creative workshops for children and youth in typhoon disaster areas in the Philippines; and to forming alliances with migrant youth in Taiwan.
Interview with the Director
Why did you make this documentary?
How did you come to work on this theme?
I always wonder, why do people make art? Growing up Malaysia society, we are often told that art is something that you don’t want to do. It doesn’t make you money nor bring you fame. So why bother? I began my journey for this documentary with many questions, encountering different styles and backgrounds of Malaysian artists and having some conversations with them.
They, fellow artists, remind me the filmmaker, to have a voice and do something.
Commentary from the Screening Committee Members
Associate Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Media Studies
This documentary depicts four artists from across Malaysia, a multi-ethnic society. It provides a glimpse on the production processes and behind-the-scenes of these artists, who also have fans here in Japan. Each has their own language, ethnic background, and genres, yet they continue to create within the same shared space. As we follow each one, connections between humans and water, history, and memory, the rural and the urban gradually spill out, highlighting the particular characteristics of Malaysian society which lets them strive toward the same goal even when not working together.
Edward Paciano Delos Santos Cabagnot
Film Educator, Festival Programmer, Writer, Artist
“Against this Messy World” is a visually arresting documentary celebrating Malaysian creativity -one that cuts across racial divides as well as different art forms. At the heart of this engaging panorama on community-based culture are its generous subjects -the Chinese Malaysian experimental musical artist, the Indian Malaysian thespian and performance artist, and a Kampung-based printmaking commune. The work is playful in an organic manner with a storytelling style that allows for many pleasant surprises. It succeeds in projecting the diverse colours of the Malaysian arts and culture scene. But more importantly it presents how each hue contributes to a notion of unity in Diversity.
White EgretWhite Egret focuses on the Orang Seletar, an indigenous people who lead a life afloat in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Focusing on Ain and Nasir, a couple, the documentary draws out how their move from the sea to a coastal village has affected their lifestyles and livelihoods. The couple describe both the resilience their community has shown, as well as the uncertain future they face, in a period of rapid social transformation.
- Loh Yoke Ling
The Fighter“The Fighter” introduces Pencak Dor martial arts fighting and the story of Pati, who aims to compete in the ring. Yudi, an experienced fighter, trains Pati and other Silat students. The ‘free ring’ format of Pencak Dor contests have become a magnet for fighters wanting to test their strength and demonstrate skills in combat. With no winners nor losers, no insurance and only special prayers for safety, the Fighter focuses on the role and development of Pencak Silat in the fighters’ everyday lives.
- Marjito Iskandar Tri Gunawan
Red Wine ChickenRed Wine Chicken focuses on a Vietnamese bride, Ah Jiao, married to a Malaysian man living in Bukit Pelanduk, in the state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. The documentary focuses on their relationship with Ah Jiao reflecting on her place in her family. Weaving the story around Fuzhou red wine chicken, a traditional delicacy, family and food, this work dwells on the different ways people relate to each other.
- Grace Chung Lay Woei
Nostalgia SenjaThis documentary offers a sensitive portrayal of Mr. Gohyong reminiscing about his former days as a successful performer with a Gambang Kromong. Nostalgia Senja foregrounds one man’s lifetime dedication to preserving music in the present, and highlights the pressures some traditional arts face in contemporary Indonesia.
- Fazhila Anandya