A Thesis of Stillness: A Study of Edmund Yeo's <i>Aqérat</i>
Edmund Yeo is a prominent figure in the contemporary Malaysian film scene. A prolific filmmaker, he has directed fourteen short films and feature films to date and has won international awards. In his 2017 film, AqeÌrat (We, the Dead), Yeo engages with the ethical dilemmas attendant to contemporary cosmopolitan existence, which this paper proposes presents itself as a limit- experience. The modern valorisation of mobility is a means of envisioning a future in a time when a future cannot be inferred â€“ a means which, as recent mobility studies have highlighted, is accessible only to a privileged few. This paper examines the way in which Yeoâ€™s film deconstructs the myth of mobility through the portrayal of the struggles of disenfranchised minorities in Malaysia, namely the Rohingya people and the Malaysian-Chinese population. Beginning with a discussion of mobilityâ€™s significance in the Malaysian context, it goes on to argue that AqeÌrat registers a critique of a capitalist progressive time. In its place, Yeoâ€™s film proposes a thesis of stillness through the citation of slow cinema â€“ a humanist thesis that prioritises the forging of human relationships as a means of negotiating the limit-experience that is the present.
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