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SINGAPORE — Before Eric Khoo made his seminal film Mee Pok Man, he had an idea for a quirky animated short about a living lamb cutlet who struggles against a hard life. Now, nearly 30 years later, that film, Piece of Meat, is set to premiere at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in May.
Piece of Meat was based on a short story written by Khoo. The 11-minute stop motion animation was directed by filmmakers Huang Junxiang and Jerrold Chong, with the script written by Khoo and Chong.
A press release by the production company, Finding Pictures, describes the story as such: “A lamb cutlet works herself to the bone to support herself, supporting her younger brother and her sickly mother in a world where the odds are stacked up against them. Her teenage brother, a durian, is a social outcast with failing grades, while her mother’s health is rapidly deteriorating. Longing for individual liberty, the lamb cutlet is trapped by her socio-economic limitations – a vicious cycle which seems far too difficult to overcome.”
The Directors’ Fortnight, which runs from 15-25 May, is a film showcase that runs in parallel with the famous Cannes Film Festival. Its full line-up, headlined by Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin, was announced on Tuesday (23 April). Piece of Meat will also be screened at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June.
Other Singaporean films that have screened at the Directors’ Fortnight are Khoo’s Be With Me (2005), Ho Tzu Yen’s Here (2009) and Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo (2013).
Khoo had previously directed an animated feature in 2011, Tatsumi. He told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore via email, “Piece of Meat was an idea I had close to 30 years ago – pre-Mee Pok Man – but I couldn’t find the right animators for the short. While I was dusting my office two years ago, I found my old story board with a rusted clip during my Ramen Teh rehearsals. Jerrold Chong, who played the young Mark Lee character, is an extremely talented stop motion animator, and I shared with him my board. Together with my producer Junxiang, they brought my idea to life and it was definitely worth the wait!”
A sentient lamb chop struggling to make ends meet in an unjust world? Bizarre as it seems, the story also sounds strangely relatable and we can’t wait to watch it.
Here are more images from Piece of Meat: