In the collection of the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, Fiona Tan researched silent, documentary archive material predating the 1920s. The material she found there depicts everyday life and above all the hard work only slowly being made easier by machines. Tan, who is of Indonesian descent, came to Amsterdam from Australia to study in 1988. During this period, Tan’s father sent her letters in which he vividly reflects on private affairs, global politics and the competition between economic systems. The combination of these letters read out in voiceover with archival material creates a kind of audiovisual stream of consciousness—heightened by the artful soundtrack—that is open to associations, coincidences and the discovery of subtle connections: between image and sound, then and now, the Netherlands and Indonesia, trade and colonialism, father and daughter.
DEAREST FIONA was screened in the Berlinale Forum program in 2023. More information about the film can be found here.