Life in 24 Frames a Second
Malaysia, 2021, 63’, English, Cantonese, French
Directed by: Saw Tiong Guan
Photography (color, b&w): Chong Chin Yew, Aaron Chung
Editing: Ong Sau Kai, Ng Ken Kin
Music: Himaness, Rhani Krija, Jomy George
Producers: Ti Lian Yuan, Saw Tiong Guan
Executive Producers: Chan Fei Loong, Andrew Godwin, A Samad Hassan
Cast: John Woo, Anurag Kashyap, Rithy Panh, Lav Diaz
Date of First Release in Territory: TBA
Saw Tiong Guan is a Malaysian-based lawyer-academic-filmmaker-activist. His filmography is singular in exploring the artistic pursuits and visions of world renowned filmmakers – in Past Present (2013), he sits down with Taiwanese Second New Wave’s Tsai Ming-liang and his early days in Malaysia; in Wind (2016), Saw delves into the biographical traces of Australian-born, Hong Kong-based cinematographer and Wong Kar Wai collaborator Christopher Doyle, who voyaged through the world.
In his latest documentary, Life in 24 Frames a Second, filmed on locations in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Phnom Penh and Manila, Saw continues his constant thesis of tracking the origin stories, the formative years, the trials and tribulations of iconic auteurs. It is a film about insurmountable hardship and tragedy, perseverance and triumph; told intimately by John Woo (The Killer, Hard Boiled), Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur, Sacred Games), Rithy Panh (Rice People, The Missing Picture) and Lav Diaz (Batang Westside, Norte, the End of History), who before becoming revered masters of world cinema, survived the crucibles of extreme poverty, illness, sexual abuse, genocide and civil war. Through it all was their abiding love for cinema. The film explores what they suffered through their childhood, how they endured, what inspired them and the meaning of cinema in their lives.
Saw made the film under extreme duress, as the post-production house that was finishing the film shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Depressed and down, Saw picked himself up and completed the film on his own, using his own resources. Aside from rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest Asian directors working today, Saw’s goal to complete this film is one of true altruism – any money earned from this film’s release will be donated to children’s charities. But most of all, his hope is that “the origin stories” of these auteurs will inspire the next generation who are going through similar hardships and that they too can fulfill their dreams.
Saw Tiong Guan
Saw Tiong Guan was born in 1980 in Malaysia. A lawyer by training, he made his first short film G16 G17 in 2007. In 2011 he obtained a PhD degree from the University of Melbourne with a thesis examining the effects of censorship laws on the film industries in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia. In 2013, he made Past Present with Tsai Ming-liang. Three years later, he collaborated with Christopher Doyle to make Wind for charity. He currently teaches law at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, while pursuing filmmaking.
2007 – G16 G17 (short)
2013 – Past Present
2016 – Wind (short)
2021 – Life in 24 Frames a Second