The International Film Festival Rotterdam is among the most interesting film festivals in the world also because its program is open to and features films like Ting Min-Wei’s I’m Coming Up. This is an experimental feature that seeks to explore the alternative possibilities offered by the cinematic space and by the cinematic apparatus. It re-defines the screening room as something other than a place in which we sit down to watch a movie with a story, and offering an experience during which we are passively subjected to a specific message by means of audio-visual interaction.
Yet, I’m Coming Up does have a story! It simply follows the slow ascent of the director/camera as he seamlessly walks around a large-scale flat in Singapore, making his way from the bottom to the top of the building. It offers an immersive hypnotic experience to those willing to take in the provocation of the film by following the fluid and relentless movements of the camera, or by taking in the dull, repeated patterns of the architecture with its greenish and whitish colour palette. The experience is further enhanced by its amazing soundscape, which derives from a live performance of the soundtrack of the film by Balabab, recorded during the world premiere of the film at the Singapore International Film Festival on November 28, 2016, which was largely shaped out of the audio recordings that were made in the flat itself.
The simplicity of I’m Coming Up is disarming and somewhat unexpected. It is a film in which the viewing process, and the cognitive response to the images as they appear on the screen, is just as important as the film itself. Then again, obviously, the film is an extreme experimentation, and may understandably not be suited to everyone. But as a sensorial experience, it is a monumental work that allows for a new type of experience, of the kind that is rarely ever seen or made available. – ★★★★
I’M COMING UP || 2016, Singapore || Documentary || Directed by – Ting Min-Wei / Sound design – Shark Fung, Dennis Tan, Zai Tang, Jun Han Wu / Running time: 89 mins.