Talk to myself

Talk to myself


approx: 5’26”
Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste (HBK) Braunschweig, Germany, 2002
16. Internationales Filmfest Braunschweig, Germany, 2002 Kino im Kuenstlerhaus Hannover, Germany, 2003


Jae-Eun, Jung

Video Film

In 2001 I get a caretaker job, which involves a lot of gardening. Almost every day I am outside for 2 hours. I work alone and the fresh air gives me the feeling of freedom. While my body is busy with the work, running like a machine, my thoughts are elsewhere. I talk a lot to myself.
The video shows the garden work in process. I sweep leaves and continually talk to myself in my mother-tongue. (One can read the text translation in the sub-title). In the end one can hear my voice. I sing the Chinese song “Looking for Friendship”.

“…I saw these machines again yesterday. Every time I see these machines, I have to laugh…

…Yesterday I saw a funny little dog. Really funny! Perhaps he had never seen a Chinese woman before? He was so sweet! (Laughing), I always have to laugh when I think of this dog…

…Why do people think? Why? I don’t know. What is good? What is bad? (Sigh) What is right? What is wrong? Why do I still not know?…

…Why do friendships make me feel so tired? What kind of a person am I? Am I happy? (Sigh) I have no idea! Why am I so diligent every day? Why? Why do I have so much to do every day? Perhaps I will die tomorrow, or just not wake up. Everything passes me by. Nothing is there any more! (Sigh) I want to stop the clock. I want to stop all the clocks!… ”


Comment about “Talk To Myself”

It is autumn, leaves have fallen down from the trees, a woman in overalls is in a garden and sweeps the leaves. The camera observes her monotonous movements through the bare branches of the trees. She seems to be lost in thought.

The image of an unknown woman in the midst of romantic autumnal scenery is full of poetry. The uniformity of her movements and the gentle sound of the rake moving incessantly over the ground transports an enjoyable silence.

Then we hear a childlike voice that begins speaking Chinese. It is uncertain whether it is the thoughts of the woman we see in the film, or the words of a child who speaks to us from afar.

The tone evokes an image of a desperate being. Her language is puzzling as she muses about her life, fears and pleasures. Her thoughts fly around like butterflies, settling down somewhere before being startled into finding a new place. She wishes she could be a small animal, as animals do not appear as melancholic as humans. But in the end she recognizes that her dog is also never satisfied. Many questions burn in her soul “Why must children grow up? Why do people think? Why? I don’t know. What is good? What is bad? (Sigh) What is right? What is wrong? Why do I still not know?…”. The passage of time makes her scared. In her imagination, the future is a frightening creature that waits in the darkness of a cave, to stop time could be the salvation.

“Talk to myself” by Yingmei Duan is a video which unfolds a/to strong melancholic effect. Much like Franz Kafka’s stories it reveals an eerie feeling of dark ignorance. A mysterious threat seems to hang in the air. Some of her thoughts and feelings cannot be put into words, she asks hopeless questions to which she cannot receive answers. However her naive view of the world cannot avert disaster. She has a childlike insouciance, but the whole world seems to weigh heavily on her. She exclaims a cry for help, but we are unable to come to her aid. The woman in the garden continues her work undeterred, is she also suffering such a heavy weight?

At the end she sings a nursery rhyme in which she puts all her pain.

Melanie Martin