Stories of home, familial connection, becoming and belonging, legacy and inheritance.
Wherever you are born, wherever you move or live, every person is born an inheritor. We leave the womb as a subtraction from another person’s body. We don’t choose when we are born, to whom, to which family, and where. Few of us choose where we end up living. For some people, life is a flight from their origins. They strive to travel their own trajectory without the baggage of familial expectation or legacy. Others spend their lives — and their art — unravelling connections across generations and continents, chasing a sense of belatedness to find what pre-dated their own story.
Enter Yoki, the seven-year-old who seems to be both subject and co-director of Audrey Lam’s new film Is Anybody Coming Over to Dinner. Having studied screen production and photography, Audrey Lam has been connected with Melbourne’s Artist Film Workshop, working on the periphery of filmmaking convention, since 2016. Now she transfers her 16mm filmmaking methods to digital exhibition.
Playful and determined, Yoki chatters, reads, makes believe, and reaches for his parents and friends in the months that fly by after the birth of his baby brother. Home is the place in which these tiny dramas play out. We’re seeing nothing less than a personality in formation – a character study, a short documentary, a textural work exploring childhood through form and perception rather than plot.
In both monochrome and colour, we trace the passage of time and the flux of daily life. Yoki listens to his Japanese mother and German father in their native tongue, and speaks with us in English. An instinctive piece of personal storytelling, Is Anybody Coming Over to Dinner captures a child’s way of seeing the world, taking shape through shards, feelings and vivid images of familial connection and growth.
We don’t know what lies ahead for Yoki and his brother. But Audrey Lam’s film brims with life force and possibility.
About Audrey Lam
Audrey Lam studied screen production and photography at Queensland College of Art. Her films have screened around the world, including at Melbourne International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Centre Pompidou and Austrian Film Museum.