Anyone who's ever suffered through the heartache that comes from a romantic breakup knows that there are a plethora of songs which suddenly seem to speak to your fractured emotional state, merging the musician's own experiences of a love lost with your own. In Montreal-based filmmaker Jonathan Ng's beautifully expressive kung fu animation Requiem for Romance, he blends a personal story of heartbreak with a commentary on attitudes towards art within contemporary Chinese society by setting the emotional action of a phone call break up within feudal China. Click through to experience the raw emotion.
Working part-time over the course of around 18 months in between gigs as a freelance animator, Ng created his time-lapse water ink backgrounds live under his Red camera on various paper stocks -- apparently sky and fire elements work best on smooth paper, while 'toothy' stock is the domain of architecture and forest scenes.
Painting needed to be achieved 'indirectly' so as to not capture his hands or brushes on camera; the wet colours manipulated in relation to the screen direction set out in detailed storyboards. With the moving ink backgrounds shot, Ng then hand-animated his duelling lovers over the top, frame by frame using a Wacom Cintiq.
The resulting film, with its phone line quality conversation, feels simultaneously intimately personal and universal. Whilst the specifics of the breakup may differ from your own experiences, there's no denying the commonality of feeling within Requiem for Romance, as you find yourself identifying with the role of dumper or dumpee.
I was pleased to discover that this isn't the last we've seen of Ng's water ink animations. In an interview with Con Men, Ng revealed that he's currently working on his debut feature -- the legend of a scarred hero who can only escape his pain through battle until he falls for a female warrior -- which will employ similar production techniques.
So, could you relate? Did the tensions between being an artist and a breadwinner speak to you or was it the visuals that kept you watching? Let us know in the comments.
Link: Jonathan Ng
[via Short of the Week]