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On the day of Vesak, the biggest Buddhist festival in South and Southeast Asia, a monk carries out annual prayer rites at the Quantum Temple. Artifacts that belong to the past and foretell the future swirl overhead in a hyper-fictional topography made up of hill fort homes, geodesic monuments, haunting projections, and gigantic fish.

Vesak may be a real festival where millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Buddha, but director Ina Chen has grafted its reverence and animism onto a game-driven world that shifts between fiction and reality.

Working with composer Santiago Amézquita, co-writer Calvin Sin, and speculative architect Liam Young, Ina Chen leverages cutting-edge technology to construct a world that tells untold stories through CGI and immersive media.

Each frame of this film permeates with mythical symbols and narrative; traditional fish-releasingis transformed into the releasing of drones, and the visualization of the festival is loosely based on sutras. Vesak confronts the stereotypical and flattened narrative of Buddhist philosophy and critiques kitsch Asianaesthetics through its use of ambitious visuals. It is a time capsule blending histories, languages, and music to reflect the plasticity of culture.

Directed by Ina Chen (China)

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