Crossing 13 Eurasian countries (Germany - Poland - Ukraine - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Kazakhstan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Korea - Japan) by land, this film consists of 12 chapters. Since my story tries to connect Europe and Asia as a single continental culture of EUR=ASIA, I’ve combined these 12 Chapters by reconciling the European concept of the "Hero's Journey" by Joseph Campbell with the Asian concept of the reincarnation cycle "12 Nidanas" in Buddhism, into one script.
The core element connecting these 12 stages are the Swan Maiden myths, which symbolize reincarnation and exist throughout Eurasia, for example in Kleve in Germany (Chapter 1 in Former Life), Irkutsk in Russia (Chapter 8 in Current Life) and Shizuoka in Japan (Chapter 12 in Future Life). In the end, the 12th stage of the Hero’s Journey returns to its origin as a ring, and by doing so, the Hero’s Journey coincides with the 12 stages of the reincarnation cycle of Buddhism. The Hero’s Journey becomes our life, and our lives become a journey, an endless reincarnating journey.
In the entire film, I emphasize the moments I spent with the people whom I met on the road and they tell their own stories. By doing so, the viewers are taken along for the journey and they too are given the opportunity to meet people from all over the Eurasian continent. By gradually transitioning through these scenes from Europe to Asia, I have attempted to make the audience realize that there is no border between Europe and Asia; this border exists only in our minds.
Moreover, this film is a homage to the late French filmmaker Chris Marker, who encouraged me to shoot my own movie. In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where Marker claimed as his place of birth, I tried to contact Marker’s soul through a local shaman. Channeling the soul of his ancestor, the shaman shared some of the secrets behind Marker’s film “Level Five”.
My wish is for all people who believe in art and the immortal soul to watch this film.