Farewell to the Ark

Directed by Yi-Feng Chang  |  Review by Riya Saha

Loneliness may seem like an almost cliché topic for a film. There are many films on the same topic and because of that, through time, it lost its dramatic and enticing effect it might have once had. Yet it’s a fundamental part of being human, one tied up with our desire for love, companionship or simply understanding. Farewell to the Ark is an intriguing movie, mainly because it manages to take a heavily-used topic of loneliness and give it a unique touch.

Directed by Yi-Feng Chang, Farewell To The Ark is about finding commonness in each other, it is about loneliness, it is about hidden feelings. More importantly, it is about love. In some moments, our bad side takes the better of us and we express anger towards each other. If honed further, it leads to loneliness, but at the same time, the moment we manage to overcome our anger, the loneliness disappears. The director masterfully portrays this weird “dance” through enticing scenes and great acting.

David Lean an English Film Director once said: “I think loneliness is in all of us; it is a more common emotion than love, but we speak less about it. We are ashamed of it. We think perhaps that it shows a deficiency in ourselves.”

Surely this was the case with Yi-Feng Chang’s lead actress. The intriguing part is that every character in this film has a unique story that relates to something worth knowing.

Angel Li as “Shizuko” is the actor that steals the show with her carefree acting. But that doesn’t mean other actors in the movie fall short. Cin-Cin Jao as “Xian-Xian” and Yu-Chieh Cheng as “Jie” perform perfectly and not at a single point does the acting seem unnatural. Also, it’s a real pleasure to watch characters evolve during the movie. Jie seems to be weak and troubled emotionally but turns out to be surprisingly robust. On the other hand, Xian-Xian, the more self-assured sister turns out to be quite emotionally vulnerable. The story has three different people who are seemingly irrelevant one to another. But seeing them evolve both as individuals and as a group, almost feels like you’re witnessing a tree growing from a seed to its full shape.

Farewell to the Ark’; its namesake created ripples in the French shores at Cannes Film Festival. Perhaps an ode to the 1984 film, perhaps an inspiration from it, or perhaps simply one’s creative interpretation to it. But Yi-Feng Chang’s ‘Farewell to the Ark’ is a short film that enmeshes virtual and real world to create layered characters and stellar performances.

The film is grey and slow, a deliberate attempt to sink the audience into the world of Jie and Shizuko. Their conversations between the girls, though intimate and personal, border on anonymity like all chats usually do.

The music from Hsuan-Yu Chen is wonderful. I especially liked the background music during the game and when Shizuko dances in the video. Chung-Pu Hsiao digital effects are worth mentioning because due to his contribution the movie came out to be an even more powerful piece. A movie definitely worth watching.

 

Riya Saha is a Kolkata based writer, editor, journalist and cinephile. She has completed her masters with Journalism and Mass Communication from Calcutta University and currently working as a freelance journalist. Having a great interest in world cinema made Riya join Human Lab Corporation. She is passionate about setting goals and achieving them. She enjoys reading, writing, travelling, socializing and meeting people. She is also very fond of watching International movies.