Hong Kong designer Tim Yip launches ‘Love Infinity’ art film series
After a film career spanning more than three decades, production costume designer Tim Yip has achieved many things, including winning an Oscar and a BAFTA award. But only now is he launching his most uncompromising production, which he calls a “living film project”, and which he hopes will challenge cinematic tradition.
“I want to make an infinitely long movie,” Yip said Variety. “I also want to explore my potential and other possibilities. I can continue to work on even bigger projects, but they may not be as satisfying as working on this project… which is just me and my camera.
The result is an ongoing art film project titled “Love Infinity,” a hybrid of fiction and documentary through which Yip rethinks the format of cinema, while investigating cultural scenes beyond his native Hong Kong. .
Produced by patron and photographer Maryam Eisler and designer and curator Mei-Hui Liu, the project’s first two films, “Love Infinity: When the Sun Goes Quiet” and “Love Infinity: Memorandum for The Next Golden Age,” will be premiered on arthouse streaming platform Mubi on March 24, 2022. Tim Yip Studio is handling international sales.
Shot over a two-year period, both films are set against the backdrop of East London’s unique cultural scene. The nearly three and a half hour “Memorandum for The Next Golden Age” is a semi-documentary, in which Yip revisits the history of East London through interviews with some of the key players in the local scene, from creator fashion designer Vivienne Westwood to artistic duo Gilbert & George, Philip and Charlotte Colbert, artist and activist Daniel Lismore, sculptor Andrew Logan and comedian and drag queen Jonny Woo.
“When The Sun Goes Quiet”, on the other hand, is semi-fictional. The film also features Yip’s enigmatic creation, Lili, an imaginary character from a world of the future who appears in the form of a mannequin or sometimes a sculpture.
Unlike the many meticulously planned blockbuster film projects the 54-year-old has worked on, from Ang Lee’s 2000 martial arts epic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” for which he won an Oscar for best art direction and a BAFTA award for best costume design, to John Woo’s “Red Cliff” (2007), and more recently, the yet-to-be-released Chinese fantasy epic “Fengshen Trilogy,” “Love Infinity” won is produced rather spontaneously.
He was born as a result of “Cloud”, an art project Yip worked on for London’s Southbank Center in 2018. Through this project, Yip interviewed 100 young people and came into contact with the Eastern scene. Londoner. The process inspired him to take on a new challenge.
“I had no intention of making a film in London. I just came to shoot footage,” he said, while admitting his curiosity about British culture, which previously had a big cultural influence on Hong Kong. “But I met a lot of people, and through those encounters I accumulated enough footage that could be put on film.”
Yip said the creative process for “Love Infinity” revolutionized the way he made films that he had grown accustomed to over the years. Whether it’s commercial or international arthouse films, he said, the way films are made has already “matured” and unfolded in a certain way. And with the growing influence of social media on storytelling, he feared cinema was stagnating.
“I want to get rid of all the baggage that comes with filmmaking. I don’t want it to affect how we end a film,” Yip said, adding that the entire project was done by himself as as an individual, with a few helping hands here and there, but without major financial support. “It’s complicated to apply for funding.”
Yip has ventured into the world of theater and fine art as a multidisciplinary artist in recent years. He has worked on a number of major stage productions: directing the theatrical adaptation of Eileen Chang’s classic “Love in a Fallen City” at the Shanghai Grand Theater last year; several collaborations with the famous choreographer Akram Khan; Hong Kong Ballet’s acclaimed 2019 production “The Great Gatsby” choreographed by Septime Webre; and more recently as set and costume designer for “Lohengrin”, which premiered at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. (He just managed to get out of the country shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine).
Yip has also held solo art exhibitions, including “Mirror” at the Today Art Museum in Beijing. And he’s working on his first major solo exhibition at a major UK museum, due to open in 2023.
But while juggling various projects, Yip will continue to develop “Love Infinity.”
He is in London for the premiere of the project while shooting new footage. He said he will continue filming and whenever he accumulates enough material, a new title from the project will appear on Mubi, with whom he envisions a long-term collaboration.
Yip is also exploring stories in other cities to tell under the “Love Infinity” umbrella. “This project is part of my life,” he said.