A few months ago, I saw a lot of the short films from Venice Film Festival’s Future Reloaded anthology, and I’ve been dying to make a short film in that vein ever since.
Right now, the future — at least for me — is looking very murky, but unlike other things in life, I can’t just put my life on pause and wait until the conditions are more clear. Clearer. No. Time, as the saying goes, waits for no one. We have no choice but to go forth — to explore — which is exactly what I did with this short.
Explore is my meditation on the future of cinema (and how that relates to own my future), which is why I consider it the spiritual sequel to my other festival-anthology-inspired short film, For Aki, Elia, and Youssef.
Still alive, FYI.
've been writing on Medium.
THIS — pretty much exactly — just happened again, only difference is this time around, I’m in a different city and there was no chess game involved.
The Wallet: Part I
— and then like a flash, it came to me. I realized, fuck man, this must be what stepping out of your comfort zone must feel like. This man, who five minutes ago I didn’t know, now has his queen checking my king while ten people stood around and watched. Very voyeuristic; almost perverted.
When I woke-up this morning, I had no idea that I was going to be playing chess with a middle-aged Malay man out on a bench in Putrajaya Sentral. Then again, I’m the same guy who went to Holi without a change of clothes, so clearly I’m not the first guy you call when talking about foresight.
About an hour earlier, my friend Imran and I took a cab from Putrajaya Sentral to Cyberia Condominium. It was eleven in the morning. I contemplated getting either a Roti Channai or something quick from the convenience store, and naturally, the convenience store won. I was in front of the counter when, like a scene from some silly British sitcom from the early 90s, I realized that I didn’t have my wallet.
But I paid for the cab. The cab was five minutes ago. Now I don’t have my wallet. But I paid for the —
OH MY GOD I LEFT MY WALLET IN THE CAB!
I quickly borrowed some money from Imran and took a cab back to Putrajaya Sentral. Once there, I rushed to the taxi counter and asked if anyone has brought a missing wallet. They said no. They said that never happens. They said my best shot is to try and find the driver myself and ask him.
So I walked over to where all the drivers were sitting — mostly waiting for their turns — and before I could say anything, this one driver points at the counter and says to go get my ticket there.
"No I don’t need a taxi. I just took one to Cyberia and I dropped my wallet in it," I told him.
He asked if I remembered what the driver looked like.
I thought about it for a second.
"Sure. Elderly Malay fella. He wore a white cap but had mostly gray hair underneath"
"Was he a big guy?"
I close my eyes and pictured him. I could see the side of his stomach protruding from the backseat, which means he filled up the front seat pretty well.
"Oh that’s Nur Muhaimin. Don’t worry, he’s a good guy"
So I stood there waiting. Fifteen minutes hadn’t passed when another driver came over and asked what I was doing there. I told him. He asked if I remember which make the cab was.
"It was the standard red and white," I told him.
"No, the make: Was it the old or new Saga? Or was it a Wira?"
And then I realized that I don’t remember. Luckily, at that precise moment, the first driver came over and explained to this new driver that I was actually waiting for the Nur Muhaimin fella.
"But he said the car was blue and white, Nur Muhaiyim’s car is yellow"
Oh, I must’ve mistaken. Of course the cab was yellow. Now I see it.
The first driver asked if I was sure. I was, but just to be extra sure, I called my friend Imran, the guy I shared the cab with.
"Do you remember the make of the cab we took?" I asked Imran.
He told me it may have been the one with the flat headlights or the round trunk. Internet marketers aren’t this vague.
"Fine. Do you at least remember the colour?"
"It may have been red and white. Or red and blue," he said.
"May it also have been yellow?" I asked.
"No. It was definitely red."
And with that, I started to doubt everything. Is global warming real? Did we really land on the moon? Maybe the world is actually flat. So I asked —
"Was the guy big?"
"Did he wear a hat?"
Was he at least Malay?
"Yes," Imran confirmed.
Phew! At least I got that right.
It was at about this time that this other driver — a third driver — came over and pointed at the chess board sitting on the bench just behind where I was standing. The guy didn’t talk, he just pointed, but I knew exactly what he meant.
All my life, I’ve identified myself as a very keen observer of the human nature, and here I was getting everything wrong about a man who I’d met no longer than an hour prior. What does this mean then? Was it self-delusion all along? What other thing am I lying to myself about?
To keep the unhealthy thoughts from taking over my mind, I said yes to the challenge, and five minutes later —
In the spring of 2011, a little movie starring JK Simmons and Lou Taylor Pucci called THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED was released in the US. It was a movie about a kid with anterograde amnesia who could only communicate with his dad through music.
In the summer of 2005, I started my first year of…
I talk time-travel and music in my new column over at The Inner Condition.