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Searching for Happiness – 2018

Short film, 07:25, 16mm, Super8, Hi8, and digital.

Stars: Jiwoo Shin, Joe Robertson
Music composed by Amber Fenton
Directed by Sae Yong Lee

Photos: screenshots from the film

What is happiness? According to Zen Buddhist teachings, it is one of five elemental human emotions that are illusional. The ever-changing nature of emotions is comparable to a flag that waves in any direction which the wind blows.* This short film attempts to capture that wavering mind through visceral imagery of hatching flies. When the protagonist finds bugs growing in his stomach, he searches for a cure in vain. As the consequence, the surreal condition forces him to part away from his lover, who vicariously suffers with the partner. The bugs are the metaphor for the blowing wind around the couple’s relationship. Their desperateness is reflected in film's tempo, which begins with long takes and paces up to the staccato cuts towards the end. The editing speed builds tension and adds dramatic quality to the couple’s susceptibility. The film is composed of 16mm, super8, Hi8 video, and digital cinematic techniques to reflect human mind on dreamlike videoscape.

* Huineng, 638-713. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. Translated by Philip B. Yampolsky. Columbia University Press,           1978.

Screening History:
- Jury Special Mention Award, Film-ed: International Short Film Festival, Dubai, UAE, 2019.
- Official Selection, Carcosa International Film Festival, 2020.
- Official Selection, Video Sound Archive S7, 2022. (Link)

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