Here's the press release:
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
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
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
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
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.