Saturday, 22 November 2008


Yes, folks, you can now order THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA DVD here.


Here's the press release:

Dear all,

The Elephant and the Sea DVD release on 19th November 2008

绿色电影制作公司 呈现 Produced by Greenlight Pictures.
大荒电影发行Distribute by Da Huang Pictures

The international and uncensored version of the multiple-award winning
film, THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, is now available to own on DVD.
The film, written and directed by Woo Ming Jin, has traveled in more than
30 international film festivals and is a favorite among film critics around
the world. In a glowing film review by Variety, the film is praised as 'the
work of a striking new voice on the East Asian film scene'. The Elephant
and the sea is produced by Greenlight Pictures and distributed by Da Huang


Movie Details

Cast- Berg Lee, Chung Kok Keong, Ng Meng Hui, Tan Chui Mui
Director- Woo Ming Jin
Produced by- Woo Ming Jin and Tomoko Ueda
Co-produced by- Edmund Yeo
出品人:上田智子 、胡明进


The Elephant and the Sea follows the lives of two individuals in the
aftermath of a water borne disease that strikes their fishing village. Has
there been a disaster? A deadly epidemic?

A week after the disease takes the life of his wife, Ah Ngau, a fisherman
by trade, is sent home with $300 in aid from the government and a cardboard
box of useless “donations” from the public. Instead of grieving for his
wife, Ah Ngau appears to have found a new sense of freedom, meeting a
prostitute and experiencing a long delayed sexual awakening.

Yun Ding makes a living doing an assortment of odd jobs, following his
“big brother” Long Chai around. Mostly they cheat and hustle their way
around, living off the naiveté of the public. When Long Chai succumbs to
the disease, Ding has to make it on his own. But can a person with no
direction in his life find something to hold on to?

An intriguing tragic comedy about the isolation of the human condition.



Best Film - Lisbon Village Film Festival 2008
Special Jury Prize - Torino International Film Festival 2007
Best Director Award - Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival 2007
Critics Award - Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival 2007
Best Director - Diba Barcelona Film Festival, Spain 2008

2008年 里斯本村电影节 – 最佳电影
多伦多国际电影节 – 评审特别奖
数码电影节 – 最佳导演
首尔数码电影节 – 影评人奖
巴塞隆纳电影节 – 最佳导演

Director’s Note

I wrote The Elephant and the Sea as a personal reflection of the county I
knew growing up. In 1999, an epidemic called Japanese Enchiphilitis struck
my hometown of Ipoh, and wiped out the pig farming industry. It also killed
over a hundred people. Many families, including my own, stopped eating pork
for more than 6 months even after the epidemic was gone. This outbreak was
a precursor to the SARS and bird flu virus that is looming over the region

The Elephant and the Sea to me is a film about emotional paralysis. Both Ah
Ngau, the fisherman, and Yun Ding, the drifter, are everyday people on the
peripheral of society. They hope for a way out of their rut through
superstitious beliefs (like finding winning lottery numbers on a fish),
though these superstitions may have been manufactured by their own
opportunistic countrymen.

Even as they stumble through life, they get little help from others. The
government, while on the surface appears to be sympathetic to their plight,
offer only superficial help, while the public uses a donation drive to
unload their trash and unwanted belongings.

To me, the film and its characters have an equilibrium that is constantly
rocked. Just like the Ying and Yang of Buddhism, both Ding and Ah Ngau will
pay for the consequences of their actions.

The Elephant and the Sea is a small film with universal themes that are
familiar to us. The people in the film, just like many in real life, are
“stuck” at a juncture in their lives, not smart enough to know the
answers to solve their predicaments, yet the inherent inertia that is life
will spur them on. Good or bad, life will go on.






I'll copy and paste what Ming Jin posted on Da Huang's blog.

For those of you who missed the blink-and-you'll-miss local cinema release of The Elephant and the Sea, the DVD is finally out!

The film has been screened in some 40 festivals and won 5 awards, in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Korea. We had a great run with the film, and though I wished more people could've seen it on the big screen, I'm happy at least now it'll have a second life on DVD.

The Elephant and the Sea is a film about people we meet at night markets, handphone stalls, and hawker stores. Even if you're not one of these people, you'll know who they are. I dreamed of these stories, but at the same time, they are stories told to me by my mother, uncles and aunts, and people I've had drinks with at the roadside Mamak stalls.

The film to me is at once a fantasy and also a reflection of reality. Berg Lee, the young "Tony Leung" of Malaysian cinema, is one of the leads. Another up and comer, Ng Meng Hui, plays the female lead. One of my favorite old timers, Chung Kok Keong, plays the older fisherman. His family grew up next to my mother's family in Kampar, Ipoh.

My friends are skeptical about this film. They ask me "Is this a good film? Am I going to fall asleep watching this film?" My answer to the first question is: I think so. But you should find out yourself. And the second: only if you expect to see a movie like Transformers.

I'm excited about the DVD because the folks at Da Huang put in a lot of work making the DVD just right. There are English and Chinese subtitles, and some additional features. This version slightly differs from the "festival" version in that we added some music in a few scenes. It is a modest film, no question, but it is a film made with great passion, and heart. So much heart I almost had a heart attack during the production. Ha ha. Joke.

Here is another frequently asked question: Why is the film called "The Elephant and the Sea" when there is barely an elephant in the film?

My answer: because the title reminds me of a far off place that is calm and beautiful but also tragic. To me, it describes a place where time has stood still, along with its people.

It's been a nice journey, and it's time for me to move on, as I embark on my new film, and other adventures. But this one will always be sort of my "first born" in some ways. You move on, but you never forget.

Ming Jin

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Woo Ming Jin Interview at Cinema Online

Woo Ming JIn
"I don’t really deliver messages in my movies. Even if people do see messages, I’ve never really paid much attention in delivering messages because my main intentions are to entertain or to tell a story. In this case, it’s more of a story to tell than to entertain. So wherever the story takes me, I’ll write it. I’m also very interested in the nature and irony of life. The movie has irony plot."

Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang interviews Ming Jin for Cinema Online.

Check out the interview, Woo-ing the audience.

以下是CINEMA ONLINE电影杂志对胡导演的专访。


Monday, 25 August 2008


You can practically feel the tropical air of Malaysia’s western coast. The dire consequences of unexpected death are punctuated by moments of such tender humor that—rather than becoming mired in tragedy—promise is revealed through whimsical perseverance.

- Michael Guillen, TWITCH

THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA had been showing at Cathay Cineleisure since last Thursday, anyone seen it? Hope you've been able to catch it!

Here's a film review from TWITCH.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Sin Chew Daily's THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA Write-up 星洲日報: 《大象與海》國際影展收穫豐‧鍾國強含蓄演漁夫



Sin Chew Daily had a write-up about THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA's press conference last week. Click the link above!

I'll do a quick translation about the interview part for those who don't know Chinese:

(During the shoot, Berg Lee had to do a lot of research to understand the eccentricity of his character. It was also challenging for him because, despite the numerous motorbike scenes in the film, he didn't actually know how to ride a bike, and had to learn while he was there.

Berg also said that he got to improve his English while working with Ming Jin.

Ming Jin said that he had improved his own Chinese skills as well.

Actress Ng Meng Hui played a village girl, but due to the fact that she grew up in the city, she had to observe and study the mannerisms and daily lives of females living in rural areas so that she could do what Ming Jin wanted her to do.

Veteran actor Chung Kok Keong played the fisherman. After many years of acting on television, where they emphasize more on exaggerated mannerisms from actors, his first involvement in an independent film was a completely opposite experience. He wasn't allowed to react much at all!")

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Berg Lee's experience with THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA 《大象与海》与李承运的故事


Our main actor, Berg Lee, posted his experience with THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA shoot on his personal blog. Painful to read.

Read it here (in Chinese).

(To those who don't know Chinese:

Berg had some skin problems during the shoot, there was a boil on his nose (that was integrated into the script). During that period of time, he consulted numerous doctors, and finally found out that it was viral infection that left numerous scars and boils on his skin, most notably his nose.

He took a break after the shoot, and the break lasted for nearly a year. Good thing he's back again!

Even my friend Vanes (of the band Dian Bang) who attended the press screening last week definitely thinks that Berg's cute.)

《大象与海》男主角李承运在他的个人部落上描述了本片与他的故事。 那时候的他皮肤出现状况, 尤其是鼻子。 但现在已经完全痊愈了! 我的朋友VANES (大马独立乐队‘电棒’的主音!)上个星期去了首映礼后, 跟我说她简直是被承运迷倒了!


Monday, 18 August 2008

Woo Ming Jin Interview at Twitch

"What inspired The Elephant and the Sea was the JE (Japanese Enciphlitis) outbreak in Ipoh (my hometown) during the 1999 period, where all the pigs died, and also many farmers. People stopped eating pork for like a year. That was the starting point. I was living in Ipoh then, so it was something I took away."

The Visitor interviewed Ming Jin for the awesome Twitch site.

Check out the interview, 'Woo Ming Jin, Director Of THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, Talks About El Mariachi, Dead Pigs And Pachyderm'.

哈罗。 又是我, 毅恒! 这里快要变成我的个人部落了。 -_-'

胡明进导演现在正在纽约探亲, 但是你可以去阅读TWITCH电影网站对胡导演的专访。 请多支持!