Snakeskin and Haiku

Watched Daniel Hui's Snakeskin last night at the Film Society at Lincoln Center, and was beguiled by its mixture of fact and fiction, past, present and future, voice and voice-over, human and animal. The woman playing Salmah was particularly compelling throughout. The image of fire not as a creative force, but destructive, burning up books and films, and finally, inevitably, burning up the people who follow their cult leader into transcendence. Salmah's idea of film as evil, first learned from her mother, a former actor and dancer in Malay film at the height of the Malay film industry in Singapore in the 50s. When Salmah becomes a filmmaker herself, she learns that her mother is right, that film is evil, for in making a record of things in front of it, it makes a different version of things. The sense of the uncanny haunts her. During the Q&A, Daniel Hui admits to a similar fear of film, a strong feeling of responsibility for making images of people, and thus distorting them, and for the use that others may make use of his film. The plot is set in 2066 to allude to Roberto Bolano. Daniel refers briefly to the multiple voices in The Savage Detectives.


wood shavings fly
from the workman’s drill
spring and fall


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