My Weekend: Film-maker Yeo Siew Hua catches up on reading and movies

My Weekend: Film-maker Yeo Siew Hua catches up on reading and movies

Film-maker Yeo Siew Hua received the Young Artist Award this year.

Who: Film-maker Yeo Siew Hua received the Young Artist Award this year. This is the latest laurel for the 36-year-old, whose 2018 thriller A Land Imagined won the Golden Leopard award at the 71st Locarno Festival as well as a Golden Horse for Best Original Screenplay. His next work, The Once And Future, looks at the beef industry in Argentina, where he spent the past year. It will be shown at next year’s Singapore International Festival of Arts.

“It would be a lie to say I’m not working on the weekends and I can totally relax. I will spend some part of it catching up on work. But I try to at least save the mealtimes with the family because weekends are when my brother comes to visit my parents, so we have a nice reunion. The family dinners are now “tar pau” (takeaway). We eat everything, but for special occasions, we prefer Japanese food.

It’s hard to do anything too big with friends these days. I will try to catch a movie. Before Covid-19, I hung out with a lot of my friends from the migrant-worker community. Once every two or three weeks, I would visit them near their dormitories, but unfortunately, a lot of them have left. I used to catch a lot of music gigs. Nowadays, we cannot even karaoke.

I still love to watch movies even though it’s part of my job. It’s just that when I’m watching it halfway, I will be very critical when I should just leave my brains at the door.

Covid-19 has given me time to go back to reading. I’m reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series before I watch the adaptation. I’m a fan of science fiction.

When I came back from Argentina recently, I hadn’t got my vaccination yet. I had to get an antigen rapid test just to watch Dune in the cinemas. It was a hassle, but I had to watch it on the big screen.

I read the first Dune when I was 14. It had an impact on me. The Denis Villeneuve film takes itself very seriously. The Oriental schtick is problematic. That might not have been so problematic when Frank Herbert first wrote it, but now, we all have a more critical lens.

But hands down the aesthetics draw you in. It’s really made for Imax. The darkness really works in the film. It’s quite difficult, but the way cinematography has developed with the technology now allows you to achieve something so glorious and dark. It’s quite beautiful.”

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